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Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 24, 2018 (SKNIS): Prime Minister and Minister of Sustainable Development, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has urged persons benefiting from the Poverty Alleviation Programme, which provides EC$500 assistance monthly, to spend the money wisely. To ensure this, a debit card system will be put in place.

At the programme launch on December 24 at Independence Square, the prime minister said that the money should only be spent on essentials. The debit card system will be rolled out by the end of January/early February, 2019. The debit card can only be used with approved vendors.

“This means that the funds should be put toward groceries (alcohol and tobacco products excluded), water and electricity bills, and payments to the National Housing Corporation (NHC) for those persons who may have an NHC house,” he said.

All citizens, particularly the approved beneficiaries of the programme, are reminded that  “although this programme can easily be the envy of any CARICOM Member State for which it is a novelty, that our people need to become a Nation of savers who ‘put away a little something for a rainy day’,” said the prime minister.   

“As my own mother and grandmother would say when I was a child growing up in Tabernacle: ‘Every day will not be Sunday.’  This programme is made possible by our national earnings and tax-payer contributions.  Therefore, money should never be wasted.  We would do well to remember the old 18thCentury Scottish proverb: ‘A wilful waste makes a woeful want’,” said the prime minister.

Prime Minister Harris said that the government does not want anyone left behind in the “journey towards a high standard of human and national development.”

“For us to journey together every individual in this country must do his or her part, especially when given opportunities such as those which this programme will afford.  When that happens we all share in the mission and gains of improving the standard and quality of life of all people of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said the prime minister.

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