Posted: Tuesday, April 28, 2020. 8:35 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Facing complaints that the Food Assistance Program opened a week or so ago is already showing signs of ‘political infection,’ Prime Minister Dean Barrow called on those making complaints to ensure they reach the right ears.
The new program employs a roster of stores providing a basket of basic goods to enlisted families on a set schedule. It is different and differed from the Food Pantry Program established by the Government some years ago.
The Program, according to the Prime Minister, was started from $10 million taken from the $75 million borrowed from the Central Bank for the unrelated Unemployment Relief Program, and enrolees on one cannot have the other and vice versa.
The Prime Minister readily conceded to reporters, “the majority of the recipients of the Food Pantry may be on the Food Pantry program in consequence of the efforts and exertions of area representatives, U.D.P. area representatives.”
But that cannot be the case for the FAP and he has been assured it is not: “I am satisfied that indeed the Ministry of Human Development is handling it in a non-partisan, non-political way. I mean what I say and I repeat that I am broadcasting this to the entire country and to the politicians on both sides of the isle, none of those monies coming in either from by way of borrowing from the central bank or from our international partners such as IDB, World Bank and OFID – none of those monies must be tainted with any kind of political infection, I simply won’t stand for that. If one or two things happen that might represent some kind of a slippage or leakage, I can’t run the programs myself, but if anybody has word of anything like that happening, please let me know any of you in the media and I will deal with it, because we absolutely cannot have that happen.”
The $10 million diverted will be repaid with repurposed funds for the Southside Poverty Alleviation Program from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), though in tranches and not all at once.
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