The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security will be “critically assessing” how it’s officers interact with vulnerable groups that need assistance in an ongoing effort to improve the quality of services being delivered, Dr. Vindhya Persaud said last weekend.
Dr Persaud, the Minister of Human Services and Social Security was speaking at a ceremony for the installation of the Fort Wellington and Mahaicony Boards of Guardians. A Board of Guardian reviews the applications for public assistance in a specific catchment area.
Acknowledging that the Ministry is “people oriented”, Minister Persaud underscored the need for compassion and empathy.
“When persons come for public assistance it means they have no other alternative, so we have to learn how to speak with them when they come to us for help. Therefore, the Ministry will be critically at assessing officers’ performance to see how they deal with the public. I make no apology about that because I believe that we need to elevate the manner in which we deliver services to people of this country,” the Minster stated.
One way to achieve a high quality of service is for the Boards to engage communities prior to reviewing any application. Dr Persaud encouraged the Ministry’s Probation Officers, members of the Boards and the Region’s Welfare Committee to host sessions with community members “to sensitize them on how public assistance works, the benefits and who benefits.”
Public engagements would also eliminate any miscommunication and speculation of discriminatory practices, the Minister posited.
“So if you have continuous engagements within the communities persons will have the confidence in you irrespective of ethnicity, religion or political persuasion, and I want to be very clear on this. We need to reach out and help people; help and support should not be tied to any of these things,” she noted.
Shannielle Hoosein-Outar, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary congratulated the members on their appointments, and noted that their roles are critical in executing the Ministry’s vision.
“You are the eyes and ears on the ground. You all have an impact on the lives of the most vulnerable,” she said.
However, she explained that the public assistance concept is not intended to be a permanent fix, rather persons will be taught skills through programmes offered by the Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute (GWLI) “where they will be certified and become gainfully employed.”