Minister of Human Services engages residents of Ankerville
The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security has responded to calls by citizens of the Ankerville community in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne), taking all of its services to the people there on Wednesday. As a result, some 250 households benefited from care hampers and direct engagement with Minister Vindhya Persaud and her team from the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security.
Ankerville is said to be a depressed community with many social and other issues and multiple residents have complained how no one goes to visit them, or more so, offer any sort of practical assistance.
“Nobody don’t come and visit us at the back there,” Linda Bates, a resident, expressed during her interaction with Dr. Persaud. “I don’t know about anybody else but I’m very glad for the hamper. I don’t know who were going to give us anything, so I’m glad for it,” she added.
Bates was one of the beneficiaries of the 250 hamper distribution exercise that Dr. Persaud took to the region, along with the other services of the ministry. “We’ve carried out the hamper drive, as I would call it, in all of the regions across the country in addition to which the officers would accompany me to the communities to provide our social, welfare and childcare services directly to communities,” Minister Persaud shared with reporters at Ankerville.
From the time she took office last year, Dr. Persaud wasted no time in starting a community outreach programme, the thrust of which is to take the ministry services to the various communities. The ministry has many divisions including the Difficult Circumstances Unit that deals with persons who are single parents, living with disabilities, and those in other dire need of help.
Through her visits to the communities, Dr. Persaud also uses the opportunity to interact with residents and hear their concerns. “People have an opportunity to have their issues addressed directly…it’s a holistic approach to all of the areas that the ministry deals with. I use the opportunity to interact with them and register their complaints and concerns and those that fall within their ambit, with my Cabinet colleagues,” she informed.
Minister Persaud also uses the occasion to ascertain if programmes delivered by the ministry are working well. “All the pensioners got their vouchers and pensions here, so it means that program has been going well in this part of the country. Coming out in communities gives me a sense of policy direction and tells me how effectively our programmes are working and I am alerted to many of the serious needs of people. I always utilize the opportunity to tell them about our programs and the support that exists as many are unaware of these avenues of help.”
On the outreach with Minister on Wednesday were officers from the child care, social work and family enhancement divisions.
“The response here is overwhelming. I’ve seen people with all kinds of issues here and with serious concerns. We have domestic violence, elderly abuse, squatters, a lot of single parents and unemployment,” Probation and Welfare Officer Joel Gibson reported while on site.
Other Probation Officer Natasha Smith-Mansfield offered that she observed many single parents in the community who have school-aged children. She noted that a lot more work needs to be done in this particular community, and observed how the Women’s Innovation and Investment Network (WIIN) by Dr. Persaud can do much to assist residents in becoming more self-sufficient.
What has been found at Ankerville, too, according to Probation Officer Zipporah Joseph, is that residents are not knowledgeable about the services that are available to give them support. Hence, Joseph feels that an outreach of this kind would bear much fruit. “Outreaches are very effective because it makes more impact when we’re actually in the community. Many people don’t come in to make reports. It’s very disheartening what they’re going through,” she offered.
Rayon De Haart, a resident, was very happy with Dr. Persaud’s visit. “I feel really glad for this hamper because right now me and my family punishing a lot. We lost a lot of things in the flooding so thank God the Government come today and meet with us and share a little groceries with us so we can rally out for a couple weeks,” he expressed.
“I am so grateful that they are able to assist persons who are not able to afford it. I’m not working anywhere so I am glad for the little assistance,” said Clairann Haywood, another resident.
“Minister Persaud is trying to meet the needs of the citizens. She is trying to be there for us and I want to work closely with her in developing our area and seeing where we can move forward,” another resident, Trudy, expressed.