Photo Credit: Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News
A call has been made for the ruling administration to seriously look into the social welfare issues facing the Territory and put programmes in place to address the growing problem. This appeal was made by Third District Representative and Opposition Member, Hon. Julian Fraser.
Speaking at the last sitting of the House of Assembly last week, Hon. Fraser lamented that there are children in the community who attend school without lunch and there are persons who cannot pay their rent, among other issues.
"There are children in this community that go to school without lunch, or without having lunch and in my view that is an indication of how they live at home. Could you imagine having to study on an empty stomach? Can you imagine doing anything on an empty stomach? This is our community."
He added, "Madam Speaker, it is time our Government take a different look at how our citizens are being dealt with and the social programmes to make sure that these individuals, not just children; we have parents, young mothers with children who cannot make ends meet, single mothers, single parent homes that cannot make ends meet."
The Third District Representative stated that elected officials are aware of what is taking place in the community.
"Every single one of us in here knows, but we just cannot talk about it, but I am speaking about it on a general level and I am appealing to the Government to look at our social structure and see what we can do. In this economy where so many people are out of work, people cannot pay their rent, some programme needs to be put in place. I am not saying that we must go to the same system that obtains in places like the United States where welfare....but something has to be put in place."
He stressed that the Government needs to look into the issue with urgency.
"We don't have unemployment insurance here; if you lose your job you are on your own. If you lose your job, you cannot find food to eat because you don't have any money. It's not like you get some sort of food stamps or what have you. We have to ensure that our people are taken care of and I am imploring on the Government of the day to start looking into that," Hon. Fraser stated.
Premier Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith told the House of Assembly that his Government will be looking into the issues surrounding social welfare.