Ex-minister: Food cards eased poverty

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Former Minister of the People and Social Development Christine Newallo-Hosein has criticized the authorities for withdrawing food cards from 13,300 recipients.

Newallo-Hosein, who is Member of Parliament for Cumuto-Manzanilla, asked whether an audit was conducted before the decision was taken.

Reports indicate that the recipients were removed because they did not report to the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services to revalidate their cards.

Newallo-Hosein said the government also recently took a decision to suspend the biometric card and revert to the direct deposit system.

The biometric card was introduced by the previous administration in an effort to prevent abuse by card holders.

She said the current system is “prone to error.”

The ex-minister said that many people faced embarrassment at supermarkets in having their food cards suspended without their knowledge.

Newallo-Hosein said the government should utilize the biometric card if it is “serious about accountability” and about alleviating poverty.

She noted that the food card system was introduced to assist in easing poverty.

If the government appreciates that, “then food cards would not be arbitrarily suspended,” Newallo-Hosein stated.

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