News

Rush for welfare money

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, August 17, 2012    

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A number of people who depend on the Government's welfare programme, PATH, yesterday called for better facilities to provided for them when collecting payments at post offices.

"We are desperately calling on the Government to carry out an investigation into the conditions senior citizens have to face when they go to various post offices to collect benefits," said Elizabeth Siddo.

The 80-year-old Siddo was one of several persons who yesterday complained that they were forced to stand for hours in the sun while waiting to collect their PATH (Programme for Advancement through Health and Education) benefits.

The group said they wanted the Government to implement new measures that would make it easier for them to collect their benefits, with a suggestion that a specific collection date be set for PATH beneficiaries.

Siddo, was among the seniors in the group who had gone to the Hagley Park Road Post Office to collect their PATH benefit when some persons got impatient and unruly, forcing security guards to intervene to maintain order.

"Some get all pushed down and others fainted because of the long time they had to wait in the sun," Siddo said.

Beverley Brown, 50, said the senior citizens cannot manage the conditions and asked that better facilities be made available for them.

The situation was the same at the Whitfield Town Post Office, where several senior citizens also called for help.

Sheryl Wright, 71, reported that the situation at Whitfield Town was so 'hectic' that she fainted in the large crowd.

"Because of the mad rush and the fact that I had to stand in the sun from 7:00 this morning I fainted in the crowd," Wright said yesterday, as she joined other seniors who called for a special day for senior citizens to collect their benefits.

Gwendolyn Francis, 76, who was also at Whitfield Town, said during the rush to collect payments she was pushed to the ground. "From morning me waiting in the sun all push them push me down," said Francis.

PATH — a welfare programme programme funded by the Government and the World Bank — provides cash grants to the most needy and vulnerable in the society. The programme started in 2002.

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