Thu | Jul 16, 2020

Aid delivery systems under scrutiny

Published:Wednesday | May 27, 2020 | 2:28 PM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness - File photo

Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer 

One of the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is the need to strengthen delivery systems to ensure that benefits reach the needy and not the greedy, Prime Minister Andrew Holness disclosed today during a digital press conference.

Holness, who is chair of the National Disaster Risk Management Council, was addressing a meeting of stakeholders looking at the country’s preparedness for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which forecasters have projected will be very active. 

With the double impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the threats from hurricanes and storms, Jamaica may be facing unprecedented challenges. 

Work has already started on the development of a database system to ensure that the vulnerable are identified, in order to ensure that benefits reach the intended persons.

“The COVID pandemic has forced the government to pay close attention to the systems of delivery because in any time of crisis, which requires the distribution of a scarce benefit and sometimes this benefit could be food, as we have had to do in the COVID pandemic,” said Holness

“….The other part of it is how to ensure that you get the benefit to the needy and you are not just able to identify the needy but are also able to identify who are the greedy ones, who are coming back three, four, five, six, seven eight, 10 times while some people don’t get once,” he added.

Meanwhile, Holness appealed to the country to exercise greater fiscal responsibility, since the government is having to do more with less resources.

“I want the country to know….there is no new money sitting down that we can just reach into and take up, we will have to do more with less. So let us not, therefore, be irresponsible as a government or as an individual to do anything that could create an avoidable disaster. 

“So even as we return the economy to full productivity, we have to look carefully on how we do that. Even as we plan for the hurricane season, we have to look very carefully on how we do that and all our activity must be towards a productive end,” said Holness.

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