Saint Lucia: National Social Protection Policy gets much needed update
Saint Lucia: National Social Protection Policy gets much needed update

Saint Lucia: Pandemics, climate change, global supply chain issues, inflation and the rising price of oil have heavily impacted Saint Lucians. Improvements to response time will be among the many areas addressed through the new and improved Social Protection Policy.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment, Velda Joseph, said the revision was preceded by extensive stakeholder engagement.

“One of the recommendations spoke to us having the legislative framework and the policy framework to support and strengthen social protection system. In 2014 a national social protection policy was developed, and that was approved by Cabinet. However, as we go about looking at what we have and how we continue to strengthen how we improve, of course, we recognize that the environment is dynamic, and as things change, we recognize that there are issues that need to be addressed very prominently there are still deficiencies within that policy, and so it was necessary for us to revisit and update that existing policy. We did that through a consultative and collaborative approach because, as I indicated, social protection is really cross-cutting. It really entails the involvement of a number of stakeholders.”

Deficiencies in the availability of support to several vulnerable groups were highlighted in the consultations.

“I recall issues related to gender and issues related to strategic provisions related to addressing climate change and addressing resilience building; we thought that this was not sufficiently addressed in the 2014 policy and that needed to be looked at. Issues related to disability, we also thought, needed to be looked at in this revised policy. We spoke of the approach that we had in the 2014 policy, and we decided to go through the consultative process that a life skills approach was the best approach for Saint Lucia.”

The revised policy also aims to reduce the dependency of vulnerable groups on the state through employable and life skill development and strengthening programs such as the Educational Assistance Program (EAP).