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(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – The Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Empowerment, Youth Development, Sports, Culture and Local Government hosted a technical workshop for cross-sectorial stakeholders in the development of a Proxy Means Test (SL-Net) for the dispensation of appropriate social assistance to targeted segments of the population.
The workshop was held August 8, 2018 at the Ministry’s Conference room.
Research Director in the Ministry Mr. Tommy Descarte welcomed the reform and stated that the consultation comes at a time when poverty is no longer measured using one’s income.
“Saint Lucia has always used income as a measure of poverty but now we use a multi-dimensional approach. For instance if there are changes in health and education this would affect the end result. The new tool would in- cooperate targets which avoid duplication of information. This would therefore make the reformed SL-Net more effective in determining poverty levels and alleviating poverty in Saint Lucia.”
At the workshop participants were asked to critically review the Proxy Means Test (SL-NET) based on the analysis and recommendations from the World Bank Consultant and Economist-Ms. Yadira Diaz.
“The idea is to create a single registry for potential beneficiaries for all the different social protection programmes for the whole country. The registry will incorporate other Ministries, Agencies and institutions that have social programmes. The single registry of beneficiaries will make the SL-Net more efficient.”
Permanent Secretary, Mr. Donovan Williams was in high spirits as he expressed the Ministry’s satisfaction with the ongoing collaboration and interventions by the World Bank.
“What we want to do is to make changes to the SL-Net therefore making the tool applicable with societal and environmental changes. For instance, owning a mobile phone would be an important indicator, however everyone owns a mobile phone. The Ministry wants to create an instrument that will identify the poor from the non-poor and the indigent. The new tool will allow the Ministry to devote most of it resources to that group.”
The SL-NET or Proxy Means test serves as a scientific method of determining eligibility among persons requesting social assistance.