Political leader of the PNM Tobago Council Tracy Davidson-Celestine.

More than 80 per cent of the people who would have applied for grants in Tobago have received their monies. This is according to Secretary in the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development Tracy Davidson-Celestine. She said this was contrary to public complaints about applicants not receiving financial assistance in the form of salary and rental assistance grants. The issue was discussed during a COVID-19 update press conference hosted by the Office of the Prime Minister, at the Scarborough Library facility on Saturday.

According to the Health Secretary, the division is currently processing outstanding applications.

“We had initially received 200 applications, those were processed, we are paying the three months at this time, we have since retrieved those (applications) from the Ministry of Social Development for the rental grants in particular.”According to Dr Rowley, at last check, 4,000 people have received grants in Tobago, but those people and are not saying that they have received assistance. However, he said the main reason why the grants are not being processed faster is because of the verification process.

“There are many persons who are trying to access the grant when they don’t qualify and accessing more than one and more than once, and therefore we have to ensure that the persons getting it qualify for it.”

Davidson-Celestine explained that the “division is currently doing random verification and verification by telephone.”

The PM said the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services was not originally designed to deal with the volume of applicants, but the ministry has “done reasonably well with treating with the tens of thousands of applicants.” He said when compared to other countries, T&T has done “wonderfully well” with grant relief and this country is at the forefront, especially as it relates to providing food relief.