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Ministry of the People and Social Development Clears the Air on Vision on Mission Funding

October 3rd, 2014

On September 24th, 2014, during the Standing Finance Committee in Parliament, The Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Keith Rowley directed a question the Minister of the People and Social Development, Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, where he inquired whether the Ministry would continue to fund Vision on Mission, after 2014. The Minister failed to respond and on September 25th, The Daily Express Newspaper published the article "Govt to End $$ for Vision on Mission".

 

The article, which can be found in its entirety, here: : http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Govt-to-end–for–Vision-on-Mission-277164711.html read:

"Rowley asked whether Vision on Mission, which had received approximately $2 million in 2013 and 2014, will receive no money in 2015. He said he had considered this programme to be a good private-sector initiative.

Alleyne-Toppin said Govern­ment was closing down this project, which was aimed at providing transitional housing, counselling and rehabilitation for deportees and other ex-pri­soners.

However, she said Govern­ment had a facility in Wallerfield “that has been refurbished and outfitted for its first intake of ex-prisoners and deportees”.

The formal opening of this facility is scheduled for late October, she said."

The article, which made erroneous claims regarding Vision on Mission's newly established Resettlement and Reintegration Estate, initiated controversy where the Board of Directors and Executive Management of Vision on Mission found it necessary to regain some clarity as to the organisation's standing with the Ministry. After Vision on Mission initiated dialogue with the Ministry of the People and Social Development, they issued a Press Release; which has since been rectified since its initial publication and can be found here:

http://www2.mpsd.gov.tt/sites/g/files/g728121/f/201410/VOM%20Press%20Release%20re%20Minister%20Toppin%27s%20Response%2001.10.14_0.pdf

The Press Release, which reads, "The Ministry is currently conducting the renewal process for the annual subvention of Vision and Mission and wishes to advise that there are no plans at this time to discontinue support for the critical services it provides to ex-offenders, delinquent youth and deportees" offers a high level of clarification to the entire issue and Vision on Mission does hope that all instances of mis-communication have been put to rest.

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