There are 4,275 persons on Public Assistance in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as at Sept. 30, 2019, Minister of National Mobilisation Frederick Stephenson told a press conference in Kingstown on Wednesday.
So far this year, the government has paid out EC$8,909,615 to these recipients of monthly assistance from the state.
The minister noted that the list includes children who receive public assistance because they have lost a parent to incarceration or domestic violence.
The minister was, at the time, giving the expense reports as part of an overview of his ministry’s activities so far this year.
Public Assistance falls under Social Protection, under which the government has spent $749,398.53 on school uniforms and books for needy children.
The next biggest pay-out under social protection is assistance with funeral expenses, which amounted to EC$295,639.41 so far this year.
The ministry has spent EC$30,445.50 helping students to pay school fees and under the category of disaster recovery assistance, which includes fire and natural disaster, the pay-out is EC$22,150.
Under Child Development, which include uniform assistance given to children in foster care, the Ministry of National Mobilisation has paid EC$37,597.06 for uniforms and books, EC$49,593 for school fees and EC$1,430 for exam fees.
The minister said there are 190 children in state protective custody in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Under Gender Affairs, the government has spent EC$8,618.90 on uniforms and EC$19,925 on school fees, Stephenson said, noting that his ministry assist teen mothers with the back-to-school programme, which includes providing uniforms and paying their school-leaving examination at the end of secondary school.