“We have decided that we are going to do a massive overall of the PATH programme in significant ways to ensure that the beneficiary identification system is far more targeted than it is now.”
– Prime Minister Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced a targeted restructuring of the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education, PATH, to improve the systems in place to assist the most vulnerable.
Speaking yesterday (August 3, 2023) at his Quarterly press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, he noted that while the government has done well to manage its economic stability in the face of global inflation, more needs to be done to alleviate the struggles of the less fortunate in the population.
In this regard, the Prime Minister said the government intends to support this section of the population by targeting key areas like the PATH programme and lending more support to the education system to assist those in need.
“We have decided that we are going to do a massive overall of the PATH programme in significant ways to ensure that the beneficiary identification system is far more targeted than it is now. Too often when I go into constituencies or communities, I get the complaints that, “You know, I applied for the PATH programme, and they came to my house, and they said I don’t qualify but see my children don’t have this and I don’t have any income.” There is clearly a refining that needs to happen in the entire beneficiary identification system for PATH, so that will be addressed to ensure that we are picking up those persons in our society who are genuinely in need of that social safety net support,” said Prime Minister Holness.
He noted that the government also intends to respond by ensuring that those persons who are not in the labour force now, by virtue of not having skills, that are empowered to join the labour force.
The Prime Minister stated: “Certainly, persons who are not working, persons who are not in the labour force, and a category that I’m very sympathetic to, the working poor, people who are employed, but their income certainly does not allow them to save, they can only consume and they are not consuming at the level that would not classify them as absolutely poor. We have to reach out to those people. We have to help those people. We have to provide programmes for those persons to be able to attain what the society agrees is the minimum standard of consumption that every Jamaican should have.”
In terms of the back-to-school programme, Prime Minister Holness underscored that the government will allocate more resources to ensure that all students go back to school in a meaningful way.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister noted that the government is sensitive to the impact of
inflation and will respond positively to ensure that no Jamaican is left behind as we move towards prosperity for all Jamaicans.