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Supermarket Association calls for automated government aid


Rajiv Diptée – ROGER JACOB

The Supermarket Association (SATT) is calling for automated public assistance after the Department for Social Development said it would not honor welfare checks in February and March.

The ministry’s decision came after 1,836 checks were stolen in a burglary at the Sangre Grande post office on Monday morning. To ensure that thieves do not take advantage, the ministry has warned that they will not honor checks and will have to reissue new ones.

In a press release on Wednesday, SATT said it understood the decision, but was concerned about the impact on its customers receiving these subsidies.

“While the pandemic has certainly made life more difficult, especially in navigating economic activity, we see opportunities arising for digital means to be presented to those affected to move to digital forums, as we recognize that many of the people affected are also unbanked by their choice and also by the frustration that accompanies the opening of such means.

SATT called on the Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BATT) to “develop customer-centric and people-centric solutions” as well as direct those who need to pass checks to a digital platform.

“Conversely, this decision not to honor checks in supermarkets will also present challenges to those for whom this relief is intended. It must be established that where this decision was made, it affected a population vulnerable to a particular period of the pandemic where challenges already exist at the banking level both at individual and sector level.

In its Monday press release, the ministry encouraged those accessing aid by checks to switch to a digital platform.

“The ministry is also taking this opportunity to remind grant recipients of its direct deposit system. It is an automated clearinghouse transaction that is a safe, reliable, proven and confidential method of receiving payment. »

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