Representatives of six countries of the Caribbean are today meeting with members of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare of Jamaica in a regional study tour organized by the Department of Economic and Social Development of the Organization of American States (OAS) through its Inter-American Social Protection Network (IASPN) aimed at sharing the experience of Jamaica in the implementation of social protection programs.
Given the demand-based cooperation model the IASPN implements, this exchange is a direct follow-up activity of the Third Caribbean Workshop on Social Protection and International Cooperation, organized by the OAS/IASPN and that took place in Bridgetown, Barbados last September. During this event, several countries requested an exchange with Jamaica to understudy their Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
Addressing the opening of the activity, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Derrick Kellier thanked his “extended Caribbean Family” for showing interest in their “flagship programme aimed at empowering vulnerable families to transition successfully from a state of dependency to one of social and economic independence”.
During her remarks, OAS Representative to Jamaica, Jeanelle van Glaanenweygel reiterated the OAS’ believes “that capacity-building can replicate the knowledge and lessons learned by Jamaica in the implementation of its program. This will ensure that participating member states will save valuable time and money in their own implementation process”.
The Director of Social Security in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Denzil Thorpe thanked the OAS/IASPN and reminded the participants that Jamaica and PATH have also benefited from similar activities in the past. “Such activities”, he went on to say, “include the Conference Partnerships for Financial Inclusion in New York last April, where we were able to meet with members of the private sector, forming ties that will hopefully transform to partnerships moving forward. These partnerships will prove to be important in the disbursement of the benefits of the PATH program”.
This activity will be a great opportunity for the visiting representatives of the Caribbean to learn first-hand from a program that has become the largest social protection support system in the English speaking Caribbean benefiting approximately 370,000 registered individuals.