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Uniforms Assistance - ‘Put The Cash Back’

MP for Bain and Grants Town Travis Robinson.

MP for Bain and Grants Town Travis Robinson.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

BAIN and Grants Town MP Travis Robinson has said the government should reverse its budget cut for school uniform assistance, the first Free National Movement parliamentarian to criticise the move.

“I’m concerned with the Ministry of Social Services’ position to cut the budget for uniform assistance,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“This action directly affects the most vulnerable in our society particularly those living in our inner-city areas. The government has a strong focus in empowering the poor as seen in the Over-the-Hill initiatives and the Economic Empowerment Bill. While I am mindful of the government’s financial constraints the Ministry of Social Services’ uniform assistance programme should not be affected particularly at a time when the cost of living has increased.”

The Department of Social Services’ uniform budget has been decreased from $360,000 last year to $270,000 this year.

Last week, acting Director of Social Services Lillian Quant-Forbes said the department will only help a maximum of two children in a family that qualifies.

She also told explained that for those applicants who received uniform assistance last year, their applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

On Tuesday, Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell said there was no “hard and fast rule” in the department regarding assistance, reiterating that people will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Last evening, Mr Robinson said he had a “frank conversation” with Mr Campbell after his initial statement and is assured no one who is needy and meets the stipulation will be turned away. 

“The minister has assured me that no individual who applies for uniform assistance and meets the criteria will be disenfranchised,” he said. “The people of Bain and Grants Town thank the minister and his team for showing their continued compassion and understanding for the most vulnerable in society. As the member of Parliament for Bains and Grants Town, I will continue to advocate for access, encouragement and opportunity for my people. No matter the sacrifice, I remain willing, ready and able to fight for the great people pf Bain and Grants Town.”

Yesterday, the ministry released a statement responding to controversy on the matter.

“We have become aware that there are reports in social media which provide a false position relative to the uniform assistance programme of the Department of Social Services,” the statement noted.

“Please note that in an effort to ensure that assistance is rendered to the most needy of our country, all applications are accepted for consideration on a case-by-case basis.

“We wish to assure all concerned that persons who qualify will be assisted.”

Mr Robinson’s criticism comes weeks after he broke with his party to vote against value added tax’s increase to 12 percent, citing the burden the tax would inflict on residents of his poor constituency. He was one of four FNM MPs to vote against the move. 

His decision cost him his job as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation.

Comments

joeblow 1 week ago

The government is already providing "free" education, in some instances "free" lunch, and they have been spending tax payer money for some children to get uniforms as well. This is an insane abuse of taxpayer funds, but people want to complain when VAT is increased? This lunacy is a part of the reason why the cost of living continues to increase! What about parental responsibility??

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geostorm 1 week ago

Joe Blow, you read my mind!!! How much more do these people expect to get from the government? My goodness, if you received assistance last year, you should have put yourself in a better position this year. Our people need to stop this dependency on the government to help them. If we don't put a stop to this we will continue to perpetuate this cycle of dependence. Kudos to the government for decreasing the amount available this year!

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DDK 1 week ago

Not to mention the on-going policy of educating children of illegal immigrants! (Not that these immigrants have large families!)

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ThisIsOurs 1 week ago

Hmm..the only way for people to get out of poverty is through a fairy God mother or education. I dnt believe we've done a good job in impressing that on poor people. And if it's the only way out of extreme poverty I say give them the uniform. No one benefits if we have a society of uneducated people.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week ago

Robinson should better spend his time with his fellow MPs trying to formulate sound economic policies that would create decent paying jobs for the family members of these children so that they can afford to buy school uniforms.

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Sickened 1 week ago

They need to get rid of uniforms for government schools (like many other countries). But, in saying that, I do appreciate that most of the kids will then dress like buffoons and there will still be parents who beg for money saying that they don't have enough money to buy enough regular clothes for their handful of unwanted children.

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ThisIsOurs 1 week ago

It's actually easier for poor children to have a uniform. You can get by on maybe three to five shirts and two bottoms per semester. If they wore their own clothes it would be much more costly and probably lead to significant teasing of those who don't have it. With a uniform they can look clean and neat like everyone else

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week ago

You're absolutely right. Not to mention that a uniform puts every student on an equal footing....i.e. less well off kids and more well off kids share something in common - a uniform!

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licks2 6 days, 11 hours ago

Spoken just like an ignorant person. . .condescending shows your classicism. Any one of those children will tell your economic status by what brand they wear. . .thus fueling the "branding" phenomenon . . . where the poor struggle or do worse to get money to buy tommy, land and etc to look rich or the haves buy less expensive brand to not look rich. . .you can't tell who is who in the game of "school dressing up". It is just like when I was standing next to Brent Symonette is a store and he was wearing a swatch. . .no more than about $25. . .a tan docker. . . no more than $60 and a payless looking lased-up shoe . . .the type you would find on the feet of hard working poor who don't have much "loose" cash to buy top of the line shoes!! This is the riches man in the Bahamas. . .time is time I guess he says. . .cheap shoes cover foot too!!

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CaptainCoon 1 week ago

Of course Green Robinson would want handouts. Government doesn't need to do this, people just need good employment and they can buy it themselves. The education is already free!

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tell_it_like_it_is 6 days, 19 hours ago

I agree with you MP Robinson despite what posters here say. Only he who feels it knows it and you're trying to look out for the welfare for your constituents once again.

As a side joke, maybe Minnis could have donated his travel expenses for his "VAT defense island tour" on school uniforms. The government wastes money when it wants to. At least this is for a good cause.

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bogart 6 days, 14 hours ago

INCREASE THE PAY AND PROVIDE FULL MEDICAL AN COUNSELLING THERAPY FOR THE FRONT LINE STAFF WHO HAV TO DEAL WID THE PEOPLE APPLYING......AND DEY DONT GET DERE WAY....

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