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Thread: Antiguan Poverty Report

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    Registered User direct_effect is offline
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    Antiguan Poverty Report

    Report shows significant number in poverty

    Just over 18 per cent of Antigua & Barbuda’s population lives below the poverty line, according to a draft report on a poverty assessment carried out in Antigua in 2005 and 2006.

    Dr. Ralph Henry, executive chairman of the consultant firm which carried out the study, said there are high levels of poverty all across the region.

    “Antigua & Barbuda in a sense is fortunate in that your level, while it may seem to be high… is lower than most other places in the Caribbean,” he said. Henry pointed out that only one other Commonwealth Caribbean country, Barbados, has lower poverty levels.

    He commented that, throughout the Caribbean “large sections of the population are being left behind.”

    Of the 18.4 per cent of the population or 15,485 individuals living below the poverty line in Antigua & Barbuda, an estimated five per cent or 4,252 individuals are below the indigence line. This means that these people do not have the $6.71 per day or $2,449 per year which must be spent on food to maintain good bodily health. The poverty line was set at $6,318 per year, which takes into account needs for non-food expenditure.

    The poverty assessment was commissioned by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and was carried out through a survey conducted across the country in the last half of 2005 and the first half of 2006. The aim was to assess the living conditions and poverty situation affecting the welfare of the nation’s residents and identify policies and strategies which can be implemented to enhance social development.

    Henry commented that many governments shy away from getting information on poverty, fearing that the results may reflect on the performance of their administrations.

    Detailed recommendations for the government will also be included in the final report.

    Henry’s firm, Kairi Consultants, presented the draft report to Cabinet yesterday.

    The final report is due at the end of the month, two weeks after a public consultation is held. A public consultation has been scheduled for 15 June. It will be held at the Multipurpose Cultural and Exhibition Centre at 9 a.m.

    Such consultations are expected to inform the final report by further clarifying conclusions reached during the assessment and possibly adding to the recommendations contained in the report.

    Henry said that the final report can be expected to place heavy emphasis on the need for the development of human resources. He made the point that Antigua’s poverty problem does not stem from widespread unemployment, but from people who are forced to survive on low paying or part-time jobs.

    “The vast majority of the work force has to go back to school to be competitive…” he said, adding that the educational system must also be improved if people are to be able to deal with a changing world economy.
    Antigua Sun

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