Treat persons seeking public assistance with dignity – Persaud to Ministry staff

…says no citizen in need should be denied public assistance

Human Services Minister Dr Vindhya Persaud has over the weekend charged the five new Boards of Guardians in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) to make the lives of citizens who seek Government public assistance easier.

Heads of the five new Boards of Guardians in Region Six share a photo with Human Services Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud

Thirty-three persons were on Saturday given their letters of appointment to serve on the Boards of Guardian in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne). There are five such Boards in the East Berbice-Corentyne region. These Boards are located in New Amsterdam; Lower Corentyne; East Central Corentyne; West-Central Corentyne and Upper Corentyne. In addressing the Boards following the appointments, the Minister pointed out that while some persons’ applications might be denied, it may be a case where the person can be directed to the relevant agency, for example, court or other support groups which may not necessarily fall under the purview of the Human Services Ministry.
“There is no reason why people should be deprived of help and we are dealing with people, people of all different backgrounds and all different levels of need, and because they are in need, there is no reason why they should not be treated with dignity. We will be looking at that seriously. I give you my commitment to that because it is a real problem not only in this region but across the country,” the Minister said while responding to accusations that many officers working in the Ministry are condescending to persons seeking public assistance.
Apart from social assistance and old age pension, the Ministry’s survivors advocate programme is another service in which public awareness is being undertaken.
“Aside from the Boards of Guardian, the Ministry has launched a number of initiatives and in addition to your very important responsibility, as a member of the Boards of Guardian, I hope that you will also support all of these initiatives and help us to spread awareness of what we are doing. There is a 914 hotline that has been launched.”

914 hotline
Making mention of the recent incident in Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), where a father allegedly burnt his wife and two children to death and in Region Six where a mother beat her daughter until she was unconscious, the Human Services Minister said violence meted out to children, adults or seniors in Guyana has become very pervasive.
“So, we thought it best to intervene through 914 which is a new hotline which is toll-free. Which means whether you have a GTT phone or a Digicel phone, the calls are free.” She further explained that the hotline will allow persons to get immediate help through a wide range of services including the Police, Child Protection Agency etc.
“If someone is actively being violated, when you call 914, the operator takes the call and links you right away to the Police department. In order words, we are going to contact the Police on behalf of that person who is being affected.”
Meanwhile, in welcoming the new Board members, Minister Persaud said it is not just a responsibility but also a privilege to serve.
“I know every one of you will move everything in your path to help those in dire need,” the Minister said while noting that she has been meeting with new Board members across the country. (G4)