‘Puente in the Caribbean’ program was launched in 2007.This regional program greatly assisted in the early stages of conceptualization and design. The major organizations involved were the Organization of American States (OAS) through the Canadian Agency for International Development (CIDA), El Fondo de Solidario e Inversión Social (FOSIS) of the Government of Chile and University of the West Indies
- The Programme’s food support was implemented via a Debit Card. Persons were not given cash but rather they were able to purchase foodstuff. The First Citizens’ Bank of Trinidad was the chosen provider. They manage the cash transaction which includes the debiting of the various accounts and payment to merchants. They provide the Ministry with a comprehensive breakdown of all card transaction.
- The Supermarket Association in general as well as other supermarkets were key stakeholders. They facilitate the transfer of a pre‐approved list of food items which are paid for with the debit card.
- The initiative was not intended to create any new intervention so the Ministry of the People entered into arrangement with other Ministries/Agencies and private sector entities to operationalize the conditional component. This included training, retraining, upgrading of skills and employment. Additionally, these entities, were involved in activities to support of the mandatory components of the programme which includes family planning, household budgeting and life skills.
To Reduce the Incidence of Poverty in Society
- Poverty reports suggested that level of indigence in the country was 1.2% (Just over 15,000 persons). At the end of Fiscal 2013 there were 42,202 persons on the programme. We feel that indigence no longer exist in Trinidad and Tobago. (To be determined via a current study)
- Successfully worked with business partners to train or through direct employment to assist 8698 to successfully graduated from the programme by increasing the household income earning capacity. Out of this 208 persons became entrepreneurs.
- The implementation of an emergency food support mechanism where persons are issued with a card for immediate use. Since its introduction over 25, 702 cards were issued.