Distributive policy

New food card distribution policy in Tobago


Health Secretary Dr Faith BYisrael. Photo courtesy THA

THA Secretary of Health, Welfare and Social Production, Dr Faith BYisrael, said new plans for the distribution of food cards in Tobago were in the works.

During Friday’s virtual post-Executive Council press conference, BYisrael said there was a new policy on the distribution of congregation-issued food cards.

She recalled that previously, temporary food cards were provided as a preloaded $500 month supply. She noted that if someone needed additional support, they should reapply and then go through the process again to see if they could get additional support for a month.

“At the end of covid19, the Executive Board decided to do things differently.

“Instead of making it a $500 one-month food card, we would initially provide food cards for a three-month period. So if you are approved for the food card, because we went through the assessment process, that food card would be valid for a period of three months.

“At the end of the three months, we would then be able to do another assessment to determine if you need additional support. This additional support can be for up to a year.”

She said social support staff within the division are now responsible for determining whether people should get the $500 supply on the card or if they should get more than $500.

“If you’re a one-person family or a single parent with a child, you might get a $500 card. But if you have three or four kids, obviously $500 wouldn’t be enough. So based on that situation, we would then determine whether you would receive $1,000 or $1,500 per month for the three-month period.

The distribution of food cards was a source of controversy during the last administration of the PNM.

An Auditor General’s report on the island’s public accounts, October 2019 to September 2020, found irregularities in the assembly’s disbursement of $7.8 million in food cards.