While a review panel continues to assess the current structure of education and sporting grants in the territory, Cabinet has decided it will continue with the interim policy.
Cabinet documents on the September 7 meeting published last week noted that executive body decided that the interim Assistance Grants Policy for the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports be accepted until the more permanent policy is provided by the Review Panel and approved by the Cabinet.
In late July, the government announced a change in how assistance grants from the House of Assembly (HOA) would be approved. The Social Development Department would take control of all HOA assistance grant programmes.
However, Chief Social Development Officer Annie Malone had indicated that exclusionary grants such as educational grants, awards, and prizes along with grants for athletic, recreational and entertainment purposes will not be considered during the transition period nor under the Public Assistance Programme. The grants would still be issued by the ministry.
Nonetheless, the Government of National Unity had established a legal panel to review educational grants and scholarships in the territory.
Recommendation B11 under the proposed Commission of Inquiry
Implementation framework noted that Cabinet should establish a panel which comprises people from civic society to review the territory’s education grant programme with a view to recommending clearly expressed and published criteria by which applicants are selected.
The panel is also expected to ensure an open and transparent process and the proper recording, assessment, and monitoring of the programme.
The deadline for the establishment of the panel was June 30, 2022, and the deadline for completion and submission of the report to the Premier and the Governor is October 31, 2022.
The five-member panel is chaired by Dr Sauda Underwood-Smith.
The other members are Dr Richard Georges, Kamika Forbes, Kishelle Blaize-Cameron and Mr Maurice Turnbull.
The panel is expected to make a detailed presentation on its assessment.