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Food Lifeline: Aid Scheme Extended Three More Months As Many Still Need Help

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

THE National Food Distribution Task Force has received the go ahead from Cabinet to continue food assistance until the end of June, Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson confirmed yesterday.

The programme was initially set to end in August of last year but was extended several times to assist those still largely impacted by the pandemic.

This third phase, also said to be the final, was scheduled to come to a close at the end of March.

Asked whether the programme was continuing, Mr Johnson said: “It is my understanding that Cabinet has approved the extension through the end of June, that’s the end of the fiscal year.”

He said the Ministry of Finance has looked at prospects heading into the next financial quarter and made a determination that provisions could be made for the assistance to continue.

“That’s the responsibility of the ministry to make the provisions,” Mr Johnson said when asked how the government could afford to fund the initiative another few weeks.

“We looked at what the prospects were going into the next quarter and gauged the fiscal responsibilities and made the determination from there.”

However, Bahamas Feeding Network Executive Director Phillip Smith expressed some disappointment that the extension was not given for a longer period of time.

He has previously said the programme should continue at least until the end of September.

“I thought it should have gone until at least September,” Mr Smith told The Tribune yesterday. “But you know it’s something, until the end of June. I don’t know what you think but will most people be back to normal by then? That’s the question. I don’t know.

“I thought it should have gone until September, which again is conservative,” he added. 

He estimated that by then, many now needing help with food should be returning to normalcy.

As it stands, Mr Smith said the need remains “dire”.

“A lot of people are in need,” Mr Smith said. “What I find is not a lot of people are certain and they are out of work. Everything is shut down. They need the money to go to the store. A lot of people are quite desperate you know.”

He also said: “it’s pretty dire. So, I am hoping they decide to extend for a longer period of time.”

The task force, which was created by the government last June, was established to render emergency food assistance to those most vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, Mr Smith said many households were still grappling with hardship as he pointed to the need for a six-month extension.

The government has invested a total of $36 million into the food assistance programme.

The task force was granted $16m for the initial roll out of the initiative and another $10m for phase two. An additional $10m was allocated for the current third phase.

Comments

tribanon 1 week, 4 days ago

And since the Communist China Virus began, nearly $50 million has been borrowed and paid by government to Bahamasair inorder to enable it to continue paying its bloated headcount of unproductive employees their full pay and benefits while subsidizing its other ever growing operating losses, or should I say, nonoperating losses.

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tribanon 1 week, 4 days ago

Anyone know where (who) all of this food is being purchased from?

Is this food being purchased duty-free directly from foreign suppliers or is it being imported duty-free by a commission earning local buying agent with food storage facilities?

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bogart 1 week, 4 days ago

The parcels of food being given out should also have a kit with leaflet notes of Farming advice and seeds or young vegetable or other plants to cultivate. .25 cents for a photocopied page of growing instructions and farming centre contacts info etc. and $1. worth of pumpkin seeds or other seeds?

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DDK 1 week, 4 days ago

Alas, that would be too sensible......hand-outs are much easier and costlier.

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moncurcool 1 week, 3 days ago

A sensible idea.

Imagine however, the complaints you would get from Bahamians in stopping the handouts for a day and teaching them how to farm for a lifetime.

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themessenger 1 week, 4 days ago

Pumpkins, seeds or young plants to cultivate?? What kind of koolaid you people drinking? First off most of them don’t know the difference between a pumpkin and a pea, way too lazy to turn the soil or pull a few weeds, would far rather harvest, aka tief, their neighbors produce after all dey is Jah tings. If you ask them to grow weed, aka marijuana, they’ll do that in a heartbeat, ask them to feed themselves they’ll die of hunger 😂🤣!!

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 3 days ago

stereotype. It only takes on turn for most of us to be in their shoes. While some might be shiftless many of the people seeking assistance have lost everything in Dorian or are unable to support themselves because of COVID. Think of the hotel workers at all levels who were laid off.One year without a salary and with kids??

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TalRussell 1 week, 3 days ago

Well, what does it say when according to the most recent survey findings, forty-four percent of the participants, saying that complete public nudity is on the noticeable increase on at least 100 of the realm's1200 Out Islands, Cays, and Rocks.
Why not a clothing program can assist the thousands being impacted by the pandemic.Yes, stage one sign - starts with parading around in their underwears?**

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tribanon 1 week, 3 days ago

Put your binoculars away and stop peeping on others. LOL

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TalRussell 1 week, 3 days ago

Well, yes, I do highly recommend the Zoom Starscope with its l2X50 High Power HD Monocular Lens - a must-have as seen on TV that guarantees to enhance with more clarity a closer-up view of what every outdoor naked watcher, gets to see - approaching from far up and down neighbourhood's streets and jibs - natural down you know there, where be's private growth bushes, and more. Yes?

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TalRussell 1 week, 3 days ago

How should we deal something so nastily ugly - residing inside wicked souls those coming to this hereto Tribune blog page, be's degrading the thousands who are first-time dependents upon a system that was never intended to treat families as - loyal beggers- guilty of little more than trying to make it through just another depressing day!

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tribanon 1 week, 3 days ago

I gather you don't want the millions of dollars being flushed down the 'Bahamasair toilet' to be redirected to less wasteful social welfare programs.

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DDK 1 week, 3 days ago

Surely it is just a re-election ploy. We know they don't care about The People, they are simply thinking about where the inked finger will go next year. The People should by now realize they are the ones who will have to pay for the on-going bounty of grits and white rice, oh, and corned beef😂

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