Member of Parliament for Cumuto/Manzanilla Dr.Rai Ragbir – “The State has failed in its duty to reach out to the most vulnerable in society, when an entire family, including two babies are made homeless”.
Member of Parliament for Cumuto/Manzanilla Dr.Rai Ragbir says he is prepared to provide free medical assistance to a family of four, including two babies, who have been made homeless after the state failed to honour payment of a rental assistance grant. Dr. Ragbir, a medical doctor says, “This situation is woefully unacceptable, and the State, particularly the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services must take full responsibility for this social mishap, and immediately institute a program of inquiry as to how a family in its database became destitute, including that of two babies”.
The Cumuto/Manzanilla MP thanked the Guardian Newspaper and its reporter, including the WPC Giselle Serrette and the “Good Samaritan”, who rendered immediate assistance to the family in providing some form of temporary shelter.
Dr. Ragbir lamented with concern, “What we are witnessing here is a total failure on the part of the MPSD, in that while members of the public can identify pockets of poverty, the Ministry with its huge budgetary allocation is unable to reach out to those most in need; and therefore I call on the Minister of Social Development and Family Services to implement an immediate action plan, including a hotline, so that cases of social neglect and abject poverty can be reported and actioned immediately, particularly over a weekend”.
The Cumuto/Manzanilla MP reminded the PNM Administration that the country remains in the grips of the Covid-19 Pandemic, and having a family, including two babies exposed to the elements, susceptible to the contagious spread of the Corona Virus is a fundamental breach of the health protocols and standards set out by the World Health Organization.
Dr. Ragbir insisted, “Given the critical nature of this Ministry in providing much needed psycho-social support to the most vulnerable in society, especially in this time of the Pandemic, this Ministry cannot function on a Monday to Friday basis and therefore systems must be put in place to respond to critical issues out of normal working hours”.
He further emphasized that while this family struggles to even find a home, the Government claims it would have spent more than 330 million dollars on relief grants specific to the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic in March of this year.
Dr. Ragbir is calling on the Minister of Social Development and Family Services to harness the resources of the Ministry in reaching out to the most vulnerable in society.
He reminded the Honorable Minister of a most relevant quote that was used in her 2021 budget presentation, ‘Proverbs 14:31 says, “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt to his maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”’
The Cumuto/Manzanilla MP reminded the country that it was the visionary leadership of the Honorable Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar which created a Ministry of the People, so that issues such as this would have received immediate attention.
Dr. Ragbir makes reference to The Main People’s Issues Resolution Coordinating Unit within the Ministry that would have attended to the needs of this family and guide the process to its finality, including liaising with the Ministry of Housing in finding suitable shelter – that Unit he said was shut down by the PNM Administration upon its ascension to office in 2015.
The Cumuto Manzanilla MP reminded the PNM Government that in this time of a Pandemic, it is crucial to seek out the less fortunate in society and provide the assistance where it is needed the most.