Norris Prevost Says Pilot Program for St. Joe and Silver Lake Will Not Work
In an effort to address the issue of the high levels of poverty in the communities of St. Joseph and Silver Lake Prime Mininster Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit announced in the 2012/2013 National Budget that two pilot programmes are to be implemented to help close the unemployment gap in these communities.
The Prime Minister indicated that a Country Poverty Assessment identified the St Joseph community as having the highest poverty head count in the country which needs to be addressed.
This programme was highly supported by the Parliamentary Representative of the St. Joseph Constituency Honourable Kelvar Darroux, who says this is a step in the right direction, as it will help to alleviate poverty and will give single mothers and unemployed youth some hope.
However Parliamentary Representative for the Roseau Central Constituency, Honourable Norris Prevost says this program is not what will solve the problem of poverty in these communities.
Mr. Prevost says this programme will not involve the government engaging the farmers of St. Joseph to produce an adequate 100 acres of land into production, which would be a big step in providing employment on a year to year basis.
He says if the government invested in the agricultural sector of this community it will be one of the best decisions they make rather than this pilot programme.
Mr. Prevost added that currently there are a total of over 4000 persons on welfare, where over 500 new names were added in 2011.
He mentioned that he cannot believe that in a population of only 70,000 there are such a high number of persons on welfare, stating this is a sign of deep poverty.
Mr. Prevost said we need as much jobs possible island wide to have as much of the population working to grow this economy and rise out of poverty; however the government is not heading in this direction and is doing things the wrong way.