Like Basdeo Panday before him, Keith Rowley seems to be having some difficulty moving out of aggressive Opposition mode and into prime ministerial decorum.
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Fuad: Help for NGOs until ‘We’ll continue until there’s something better’
While Cabinet has approved $4.7 million to assist three medical organisations, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan says the Government will continue to provide financial assistance to them until better can be done. This comes after last week’s announcement that the Government will spend $2 billion to build hospitals in Point Fortin and Sangre Grande, and to upgrade the Arima Hospital.
Speaking at yesterday’s post-Cabinet briefing, Khan said the Government’s assistance to non-governmental organisations was part of Government’s pillars of development.
Khan announced the approval of annual subventions to the T&T Cancer Society, the Cotton Tree Foundation and Community Action Resource (CARE). When asked whether he was satisfied with the NGOs performances, he said: “We have asked for some auditing to be done into those non-governmental organisations and I won’t read out exactly what we have found. “They do provide a service and they are a very strong lobby so at the end of the day we have to continue until we have something better.”
The Cancer Society, which provides clinical services, in-house and mobile cancer-screening, biopsies and other services, has an annual subvention of $158, 500. Khan said the society’s agreement with the North West Regional Health Authority had been terminated causing a shortage of funding. He said Cabinet had agreed to give $3.5 million to cover the shortage and would increase the subvention to $2 million for two years.
The increase comes as the society rolls out a nutritional supplemental programme aimed at assisting families with food supplies to reduce their financial burden. CARE, which has existed for the past 26 years, will be allocated $222,240 to cover one year. After that period ends, Khan said, a comprehensive evaluation would be undertaken by the Ministry of the People and Social Development to assess whether the subvention would be continued. As the Cotton Tree Foundation takes on new programmes, in collaboration with the Health Ministry, Khan said the organisation’s annual subvention of $1,063,848 was granted for the period of two years with effect from next month.