Leader of the United Workers Party (UWP) is seeking to clarify his position on some government social services saying his pronouncement on a local radio station was misunderstood.
Speaking on Q95 on Thursday morning, Linton reiterated that it is clear to him that “the government is pursuing an agenda with social programs which ends up benefiting greedy people more than it benefits needy people.”
“I am very clear on this,” he stated. “Some people have misunderstood that to mean that as saying the people that benefited from social programs are greedy, if that is that is what some people got, I apologize for it because that is not what I meant.”
In a program on Tuesday Linton criticized the government’s “Yes We Care” and “Housing Revolution” which he said were delivered on a political basis which benefited some leaving “hundreds and hundreds of people without the assistance that they need and they deserve.”
“Why, because the government has decided it will not deliver these benefits and these social services based on need, it will deliver them purely on a political agenda that ends up favouring the greedy as opposed to the needy,” Linton said.
Linton was immediately pounced upon by members of the government such as MP for Portsmouth, Ian Douglas, who described the statement as unfortunate.
Minister of social services, Gloria Shillingford, followed suit saying she was angry and her “heart is crying out” because of Linton’s statement.
But Linton said on Thursday if critics believed he said needy people are greedy, “that could not have been my intention.”
“I never meant to say that the people who are genuinely in need and are benefiting from the social programs of government are greedy,” he stated. “If that is what was communicated, I apologize.”
He stuck to the point that there are some people who are benefiting from the program who do not deserve it.
“I want to be clear that you have a lot of people who are benefiting from resources that should be going to social programs in Dominica,” he stated “That is not for me to decide…the people of Dominica must decide whether there is need or there is greed.”
Meanwhile, former IMF economist and UWP candidate for Grand Fond, Dr. Thompson Fontaine, has articulated the policy of a United Workers Party government on social services, saying that one of the measures will be to extend the safety net to ensure that government takes of the people who are in need in Dominica.
“And we’ll be doing our best, we’ll do our best to get the people out of those lists but the people who remain for whatever circumstance, will be taken care of and we’ll have a professional system where the Social Welfare Division is well staffed…we’re going to do it in a way that will benefit all of Dominica,” he said. Dr. Fontaine was also a guest on the same programme as Linton Thursday morning.
“It will be done on an issue of need. We’re going to have individuals going to different communities to do the work, do the surveys and find out who within those communities, need help and those people will be targeted with the help that government can give,” he explained.
Dr. Fontaine said a UWP government will ensure that sufficient funds will be allocated to take care of those needs.