Millions for food support; 20 cheques prepared for religious bodies

Cheques have been prepared for distribution to religious umbrella bodies across Trinidad and Tobago, out of the first $10 million allocated to them by Government to provide food support to those in need.

Grants totaling $10 million per month for three months, May, June and July will be given to the religious bodies in proportion to the size of their congregations for them to distribute food to the poor and needy. This will cost taxpayers $30 million.

In a social media post on Saturday, Finance Minister Colm Imbert gave an update, confirming that cheques have been prepared for distribution to the various religious organisations.

“Yesterday, I worked with the Staff in the Budgets Division, Treasury and OPM to ensure that cheques were prepared to give to religious bodies $$ out of the first $10M allocated to them for feeding the poor and needy. The process was completed in ONE DAY. And they say we too slow!” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, speaking at the Ministry of Health’s daily virtual media briefing on Saturday, Social Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis said each organisation has to sign an agreement with the Government to ensure accountability.

The initiative, she said is being done through the Office of the Prime Minister.

The Minister said she has spoken to the leaders of several majoe religious organisations outlining the requirements.

She said 20 cheques have already been prepared for distribution.

“What we have come up with is an agreement that all must sign and also the undertaking that before you get another tranche you have to bring in all the bills and receipts indicating that you have actually spent the money on food support. And there is also a document that registers each person that gets this food support. So we’ve tried to be as tight as possible to make sure that the organizations do in fact spend the money for the purpose to which the money is allocated.”

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