Mr. Kellier, who was speaking during a tour of the Ministry’s Hanover parish office on Friday, September 5, said persons have been complaining that they are not on the PATH list, or that they have been taken off for various reasons.
“What I want the public to know is that in every parish, there exists an appeals committee and if for any reason, you have been unjustly removed from the programme or you have not been given access to the programme, make an appeal…so that your case can be revisited,” he stated.
He also urged the officers to help dispel “this belief that persons with fridges, stoves and televisions in their houses are not eligible (for PATH)…it’s not true.”
Minister Kellier also reiterated his call for PATH beneficiaries to honour their obligations to the programme, including ensuring that children regularly attend school and clinic.
“The children must go to the clinic…and they must go to school at a minimum of 85 per cent of the designated school time…otherwise they will find themselves being removed from the programme,” he noted.
PATH has an annual budget of over $4 billion and the stipulations must be met as the Government is compelled to make reports to the multi-nationals that fund the programme.
Minister Kellier said the Government continues to receive rave reviews from its Caribbean counterparts for its handling of the PATH programme.
He said, “The PATH programme is the flagship poverty (reduction) programme of the Government and it is the best run programme in the entire Caribbean when it comes to social protection. Other governments are sending their representatives here to learn from us about how we run this programme because the international agencies have confirmed that Jamaica has one of the best run social protection programmes.”
He noted that the government was implementing measures aimed at reducing the number of Jamaicans, who receive welfare support, over the next two years.
This includes a $600 million welfare-to-work programme for some 2,000 beneficiaries of the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
The initiative will be carried out under the Steps-To-Work programme, which targets working age members of families on PATH, providing them with training and on-the-job experience to enable them to seek and retain employment.
“Looking ahead, the Steps-to-Work Programme will support the Ministry’s graduation strategy, which will see some 1,000 PATH families (or about 2,000 individuals) participating in the phased implementation of a welfare-to-work programme,” explained Minister Derrick Kellier.