(L-R) Permanent Secretary Jacinta Bailey-Sobers of the MSDFS with Hema Narinesingh and Cassandra Ramkerrysingh of Ernst and Young (Trinidad and Tobago). (Image: Ministry of Social Development and Family Services)

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services (MSDFS) has entered into contract with Ernst and Young (Trinidad and Tobago), for the implementation of Phase I of the National Social Mitigation Plan for Trinidad and Tobago.

The Ministry has confirmed the contract signing, which occurred on Tuesday 7 July 2020.

According to the Ministry’s statement, the National Social Mitigation Plan (NSMP)—which was approved by Cabinet in October 2017—was crafted as a direct response to the potential psycho-social, economic and social effects experienced by vulnerable households in 2015, when global energy prices plummeted to unprecedented levels.

The Ministry states that its theme is “Building Resilience to Secure Our Nation”, and its primary objectives and focus include: 

  • Strengthening  this  country’s  social  protection  system; 
  • The  promotion  of community and civil society action  against poverty; and
  • The growth of an enterprising and innovative society. 
Permanent Secretary of the MSDFS, Jacinta Bailey-Sobers and Consultant Cassandra Ramkerrysingh review and sign the documents. (Image: Ministry of Social Development and Family Services)

Permanent Secretary of the  Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, Jacinta  Bailey-Sobers,  notes that the Plan is viewed as timely and  relevant  in  the  context  of  the  current COVID-19 pandemic  and  the  transition  to  the  recovery  period. 

“Now more than ever, the MSDFS has a commitment to ensure that the social well-being of the most vulnerable is given priority,” she said. “The focus  of the NSMP  will now  include  retooling  persons  and  building  a  culture  of  resilience,  particularly  among  vulnerable populations. These focal areas were aligned to those identified in the Government’s National Recovery Plan,” she added.

The Ministry reports that commencement of the consultant for the implementation of Phase I will serve to assist in advancing the major projects included in the Plan.  Prior to the consultancy, the Ministry says several key deliverables were achieved in support of “a multidimensional approach to the implementation of Phase I”, including:

  • Appointment of the Inter-Sectoral Advisory and the Policy and Programmatic Oversight Committees for the implementation of the Plan.
  • The carrying out of twenty-nine community outreach exercises—between August 30th, 2019 and March 31st, 2020—by the MSDFS, in collaboration with various  other Ministries, State agencies, Non-governmental Organisations and Programmes.

“Such efforts are representative of a whole of government approach to social service delivery and a commitment to leaving no one behind in the course of this country’s development agenda,” PS Bailey-Sobers said.