On the eve of General Elections in St. Kitts and Nevis, Prime Minister Harris has taken to the airwaves to perpetuate his deception of the public. After nearly four years of the public crying out for the fulfillment of a campaign promise of EC$500 for persons earning less than EC$3000 per month, Harris is all of a sudden ready at this proverbial eleventh hour to woo voters for the upcoming elections. The unsuspecting citizens of this country had been led to believe that this benefit would have been given to them within the first 100 days of the Harris administration, but instead it comes in its dying days.

Adding insult to injury, the Prime Minister took to the airwaves to announce the three phases of implementation of the $500 programme but offered no clue as to exactly when the payments will be made. Hundreds of nationals gathered at community centres around the island as they had been asked to do on Wednesday of this week only to be told that the forms they had come to fill to receive the $500 were not yet ready. Many of them took to social media to decry the level of deception and disorganisation in the government and have become convinced that this is only an election gimmick.

The biggest surprise and disappointment of all is that what was billed as a $500 grant programme has now been reduced to a food stamp programme with recipients forced to redeem their vouchers at a handful of supermarkets hand-picked by the government. Poor people were made to believe that they would be able to use their money to pay electricity bills, and buy educational supplies, medicine and other important items, but the voucher would not be used for those purposes.

Moreover, it is now clear that the vast majority of persons who thought they would qualify for the money will be summarily ruled out. All sorts of road blocks are now placed in their way, the first one being the use of gross income as opposed to net income (income less taxes and social security deductions). Many people will be disqualified by this uncaring government as there are many poor people who earn $3000 per month but have almost zero disposable income.

Don’t hold your breath. This is just an election gimmick that is just too little too late.

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