Husbands: Govt helps the poor

Government is spending millions of dollars to help poor people beyond the $108 million budgeted for the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training Sandra Husbands made the point yesterday as she responded to criticism from Opposition Leader Ralph Thorne about the $188 million budget allocation for the Prime Minister’s Office for 2024-2025.

Speaking during debate on the 2024 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals, Husbands said it was “as though he does not understand that the provision for the poor of Barbados is not only contained in the Ministry of People Empowerment, it runs through every ministry in this Government.

“[In] agriculture, more than $40 million to help people get into the FEED Programme for small farmers to be able to make a living. In housing over $60 million to help poor people get affordable housing that they can hold their heads up in dignity,” she said.

“In the Ministry of Innovation Science and Technology, $11 million . . . to help export Barbados help small business people and young people with ideas to get ready for export so that they can participate in the economic gains in this nation.”

Husbands continued: “In transport and roads, so people have decent roads running outside of their homes, $30 million; in health care, out of that budget, $145 million is dedicated to [non-communicable diseases], to health promotion, to primary health care, and to nutrition. All of that is for the people at the bottom of our society who need to be lifted up.”

The minister said this was in addition to “youth and sports, $68 million for Youth Advance [Corps], for the sports programme, for community training, for youth development, the peace programme and national crime prevention programme, over $12 million. And when it comes to education . . . more than $254 million has been put aside for tertiary education.”

Husbands also pointed out that the Ministry of Education’s budget included “$254 million towards the tertiary education is to help us provide a second chance for all of those children who missed it.” (SC)

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