Religious bodies receive funding for food support

Faith Based Or­gan­i­sa­tions (FBOs) in Trinidad and To­ba­go be­gan to re­ceive fund­ing from the gov­ern­ment on Fri­day May 1st, 2020, to as­sist with pro­vid­ing food to vul­ner­a­ble in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies with­in var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties in the coun­try.

In an of­fi­cial state­ment from the Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment and Fam­i­ly Ser­vices on the dis­tri­b­u­tion cer­e­mo­ny last Fri­day, Min­is­ter Camille Robin­son-Reg­is in­di­cat­ed that sev­er­al re­li­gious bod­ies have been and will con­tin­ue to re­ceive cheques to dis­trib­ute among their mem­ber­ship for the pro­vi­sion of emer­gency food sup­port.

At the press con­fer­ence host­ed on May 4, 2020, the Min­is­ter stat­ed that the new mea­sure is ex­pect­ed to pro­vide food for the needy over the next three months and will cost tax­pay­ers the sum of $10 mil­lion per month.

The first tranche of pay­ments made to twen­ty (20) re­li­gious bod­ies, amounts to $7, 970,297. Both na­tion­als and non-na­tion­als (in­clud­ing Venezue­lans) will ben­e­fit from this mea­sure, as the Gov­ern­ment at­tempts to en­sure that no one is left be­hind”.

“We all agree that we are in un­prece­dent­ed times and there­fore we are ex­pect­ed to take un­prece­dent­ed mea­sures to en­sure that the re­quired sup­port is pro­vid­ed for the cit­i­zen­ry. Cog­nizant that emer­gency hu­man­i­tar­i­an ef­forts are now re­quired to pro­vide food and oth­er crit­i­cal sup­plies to the pop­u­lace, the Gov­ern­ment, through the Ec­cle­si­as­ti­cal Di­vi­sion of the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter and the Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment and Fam­i­ly Ser­vices, in­tro­duced this new ini­tia­tive,” Min­is­ter Robin­son-Reg­is ex­plained.

She added: “The ma­jor aim of the ini­tia­tive is to as­sist vul­ner­a­ble in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies who are in dire need of food dur­ing these chal­leng­ing times, and who may not be el­i­gi­ble for the So­cial As­sis­tance Grants, or who may not have yet re­ceived their pay­ments”.

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­is­ter, dis­tri­b­u­tion will be done in tranch­es and each FBO rep­re­sen­ta­tive will be re­quired to sign an agree­ment up­on col­lec­tion of the cheques.

The Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter will ad­min­is­ter the dis­tri­b­u­tion of cheques to the um­brel­la bod­ies of the FBOs. Fol­low­ing this, each FBO will be re­quired to sub­mit a de­tailed re­port (bills and re­ceipts) of how the mon­ey is dis­trib­uted across their satel­lite or­gan­i­sa­tions, with de­tails of the type and quan­ti­ty of items pur­chased.

The grant it­self must on­ly be used for pur­chas­ing goods to pre­pare ham­pers, meals and food sup­port for those ad­verse­ly af­fect­ed by the pan­dem­ic. Once this con­di­tion is met, a sec­ond tranche will be dis­trib­uted ac­cord­ing­ly.

“This will en­sure trans­paren­cy and ac­count­abil­i­ty,” said Min­is­ter Robin­son-Reg­is.

Among some of the FBOs to re­ceive fund­ing are:

– The T&T Methodist Trust Lim­it­ed

– An­ju­man Sun­nat ul Jam­maat As­so­ci­a­tion of Trinidad and To­ba­go

– The Ro­man Catholic Arch­dio­cese of Port of Spain

– Masjid al Taw­bah Mus­lim Com­mu­ni­ty of Trinidad and To­ba­go

– Trinidad Mus­lim League

– Sanathan Dhar­ma Ma­ha Sab­ha of T&T Inc.

– West In­di­an Unit­ed Spir­i­tu­al Bap­tist Sa­cred Or­der Inc.

– Shri Sid­dhi Vin­nayak Org. Inc.

– SWA­HA Inc.

– Na­tion­al Evan­gel­i­cal Spir­i­tu­al Bap­tist Faith


– In­cor­po­rat­ed Trustees of the An­gli­can Church of T&T

– The Pres­by­ter­ian Church of Trinidad and To­ba­go

– The Na­tion­al Coun­cil of Or­isha El­ders of T&T

– The South­ern Caribbean Con­fer­ence of Sev­enth Day Ad­ven­tist

– Bap­tist Union of Trinidad and To­ba­go

– Pen­te­costal As­sem­blies of Trinidad and To­ba­go

– The Trinidad and To­ba­go Evan­gel­i­cal Coun­cil

– The Bap­tist Union of Trinidad and To­ba­go

– The Ethiopi­an Or­tho­dox Church

– All Man­sions of Rasta­far­i­an

The Min­is­ter al­so in­di­cat­ed that the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter will con­tin­ue to iden­ti­fy oth­er um­brel­la re­li­gious groups in an ef­fort to en­sure that all FBOs are pro­vid­ed with fund­ing to par­tic­i­pate in this ef­fort.

She not­ed that the Min­istry of Rur­al De­vel­op­ment and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment al­so will be re­ceiv­ing fi­nan­cial sup­port for dis­tri­b­u­tion at the lo­cal lev­el, to the tune of $10 Mil­lion Dol­lars, over the next 3-month pe­ri­od.

“Both ini­tia­tives, there­fore, will cost tax­pay­ers a to­tal of $60 Mil­lion Dol­lars,” the Min­is­ter re­port­ed.

Min­is­ter Robin­son-Reg­is re­mind­ed the me­dia that all of the Food Sup­port and So­cial Sup­port ini­tia­tives be­ing rolled out were tes­ta­ment to a Car­ing Gov­ern­ment, work­ing for all the peo­ple of Trinidad and To­ba­go.

Up­on re­ceiv­ing the grant on be­half of the Na­tion­al Coun­cil of Or­isha El­ders of T&T, Neil Ryan Rawl­ins stat­ed:

“We are very hap­py for this as­sis­tance and grate­ful to the Gov­ern­ment. We know it will help tremen­dous­ly as we face this mega cri­sis. As you would imag­ine, the needs of the poor have in­creased and we are hap­py to be able to pro­vide ham­pers and food sup­port bas­kets to help per­sons along the way for the next three months, es­pe­cial­ly those who would have to start over.”

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on this so­cial sup­port mea­sure, FBOs may con­tact the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter at 622-1625.

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