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Zero Hunger Trust Fund expected to make strides

Zero Hunger Trust Fund expected to make strides

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Indigence, poverty and hunger are under attack in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and as a result, the Government has been able to move indigence from 25.7 per cent in 1997 to 2.9 per cent in 2016.

“We must be doing something right,” said Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves on Wednesday, while speaking at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conference room just before the inaugural meeting of the Zero Hunger Trust Fund’s board of directors.{{more}}

The Prime Minister stressed that this Government is focused on reducing poverty, as was outlined in the Unity Labour Party (ULP) manifesto and as a result, has pledged that by 2020, no man, woman or child will go to bed hungry at night, hence the introduction of the Fund, which has as its main aim the elimination hunger.

He said that the Zero Hunger Trust Fund, to which, from his own personal funds, he will donate over EC$9,000, brings with it targetted specific interventions that will play a huge part in further reducing poverty here.

Gonsalves said that the Government has a “master list” of persons and that data will be used to begin achieving the objective of the Fund.

He added that data shows about 3,000 persons (2.9 per cent of the population) are indigent, while over 3 per cent are undernourished and the Government is aware that there are more persons and are encouraging people who know of these persons to come forward with the information to assist the process of achieving zero hunger by 2020.

He said that a lot of persons talk about persons who do not receive help from the Government, but the Government cannot know about these people if someone does not say something.

“….Some people like to pour cold water on everything; if you know persons who are poor and indigent, get the names,” said the Prime Minister, who added that the Government will help.

The Zero Hunger Trust Fund is expecting support from organizations such as the St Vincent Electricity Services (VINLEC), Central Water and Sewage Authority (CWSA), National Lotteries Authority (NLA), National Properties, LIME, Digicel, FLOW, Mustique Company, Canouan Developers, SOL, Rubis, Eastern Caribbean Group of Companies (ECGC), supermarket owners, St Vincent Brewery Ltd, Mustique Charitable Trust, CDEMA, PetroCaribe, World Bank, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), individuals and a number of global charitable entities.

Also speaking before the inaugural meeting of the board, chair of the board Derry Williams said that the task of the Fund will be challenging, “because we now have to move from policy to action and sometimes that is where things get a little slippery.”

However, he said, “we must set out to work assiduously with great purpose and to execute with equal alacrity. This we must do with the ultimate goal of positively impacting the lives of the intended beneficiaries of the Fund.”

Williams said that he is looking forward to working with the agencies and the private sector with the single aim of achieving zero hunger here.(LC)

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