Self Help Grant Distribution – Tobago

Ministry of Sport and Community Development


Self Help Grant Distribution

 Monday 30th November, 2020

10:00 a.m.



Feature Address

The Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe

Minister of Sport and Community Development and Member of Parliament for Tobago West


  • Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly – The Honourable Ancil Dennis
  • Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister and MP for Tobago East – The Honourable Ayanna Webster Roy
  • Secretary Community Development Enterprise Development and Labour – The Honourable Marslyn Melville-Jack
  • Chairman of The National Commission For Self Help Limited – Mr. Anthony Campbell
  • Deputy Chairman of The National Commission For Self Help Limited – Mrs. Janice Perouse Sullivan
  • Directors of the Board of The National Commission For Self Help – Ms. Dianne Ruthlyn Antoine and Ms. Marissa Williams
  • Chief Executive Officer of The National Commission For Self Help Limited – Mr. Elroy Julien
  • Members of Staff at the Commission
  • Specially invited guests
  • Grant Recipients gathered here today
  • Members of the Media


Good morning Tobago,

It is a distinct honour and privilege for me to join you, my fellow Tobagonians,  at this auspicious occasion this morning, both in my capacity as MP for Tobago West and Minister of Sport and Community Development with specific responsibility for the National Commission for Self Help Ltd.

National commission was created in …. To…..

The grants we provide include

We are pleased to be able to provide this support from central government, which helps to complement similar programmes provided by the THA like the home refurbishment grant and the home construction grant.


this morning for the distribution of grants made possible through the hard work and dedication of the National Commission for Self Help Limited, a critical arm of the Government’s machinery in delivering support to the least fortunate citizens of Trinidad and the citizens of Tobago.


Today’s grant distribution is yet another manifestation of this Government’s promise to put people first. It is one of the countless suite of support mechanisms designed to improve the standard of living for our citizens through direct investment in improving their living conditions, enhancing infrastructure and contributing to development programmes which satisfy and serve a greater good. This assistance transcends mere individual support,  It helps helps to strengthen the family unit, reinforce the community,  and enhance the development of the entire country.

As a government, we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure that all citizens,  regardless of geographical location, race, economic status or political affiliation, obtain support they need, through grants, programmes and services offered through Central Government and more specifically here in Tobago through the Tobago House of Assembly and its various Divisions.

State agencies such as the National Commission for Self Help Limited play a pivotal role towards achieving our Government’s mandate to give every citizen a chance to advance, to achieve their goals and realise their dreams, towards upscaling the quality and quantity of their contribution to the growth and development of our twin-island nation. It is all about creating opportunities, establishing avenues for success, building a culture of excellence, providing a pathway for each and every Trinbagonian man, woman, and child, leaving no one is left behind.


Today, November 30, 2020, one hundred and seven (107) families will receive grants to the tune of one million, six hundred and seventy thousand dollars ($1 670 000.00), under the three programmes of the National Commission for Self Help Limite.

These grants are geared towards ensuring that our less fortunate citizens have a comfortable, safe and secure home, that communities can enjoy more sustainable and enriched living, and that   commercial activity and entrepreneurship would intensify  through improved access to markets and  more sophistaced transportation systems. Therefore bringing resources such as distribution networks, government goods and services, projects and programmes closer to home.

Over the past five years, the National Commission for Self Help Limited has disbursed over seventy-two million ($ 72 million) dollars in support grants across Trinidad and Tobago, of which over five million, and let me quote the exact figure, five million, four hundred and ninety one thousand, three hundred and eight dollars and twenty-three cents ($5 491 308.23) was disbursed in Tobago.

This is after Tobago was cut off from the programme from 2013 to 2015. For whatever reason you sent your applications, and reached out across the waters for help, but your cries fell on deaf ears.

I am pleased that this compassionate and caring government made the timely and critical decision to extend self help to Tobago once again, by strengthening its operations in Tobago and granting Tobagonians the help that we need.

Between 2015 and 2020 in Tobago, four hundred and forty-two (442) support grants were distributed under the National Self Help Commissions Minor Repairs Reconstruction Grants programme (MRRGS). This benefited  over one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight (1898) persons. Two hundred and thirty-three (233) persons benefited from fifty-one (51) Emergency Repairs Reconstruction Assistance. And as we make our way to Tobago East this afternoon to start our project to erect the ….. bridge in…… village, I am pleased to inform you that we have spearheaded thirty-three (33) community development projects through our Development Project grants.

Of this figure, in 2020 alone, over sixteen hundred persons had their living standards improved with just two development project grants disbursed.  Details on these projects.

I am pleased that even against the backdrop of turbulent economic times, a debilitating financial crunch and a global pandemic which has brought the most wealthy and powerful nations to their knees, this Dr. Keith Christopher Rowley led administration has seen it fit top lace deliberate and elaborate focus on putting our people first, and to place laser focus on programmes and projects that will truly nurture, transform and develop Tobago.


The government has its role to play and so do you. So plan properly, budget wisely, think about sustainability, think about longevity. Make no gamble with your life and wreckless deals with your future. As unpredictable as the future may be, we all want to live comfortably, and we all want the best for ourselves and our families.

As we employ taxpayers’ dollars to provide this much-needed relief, we are obliged to practice stringent compliance with the rules and regulations for the disbursement of public funds. We have a duty to ensure that these monies are appropriately managed, properly allocated and well accounted for. It is of paramount importance that when you receive this grant, you use it for its intended purpose. When it is abused or misused, you deny others the opportunity to enjoy the very living conditions that we all so greatly desire. I’m counting on you, all 107 of you right thinking, pure-hearted Tobago, make good of this investment and do right by the taxpayer.


I wish to thank the dedicated management team and diligent staff members of the National Commission for Self Help Limited for their relentless efforts to ensure that the Government is able to bring relief to as many citizens as possible.

I know all too well that it is a labour of love and commitment to visit the various homes, and do your assessment and verification exercises to ensure what needs to be done to help these families is effectively and efficiently executed.

We have some challenges in Tobago and we are working on making the necessary changes to ensure that your customer service experience is improved, so that we can better serve our clients and up the ante in our day to day operations.

As the line Minister as well as the Member of Parliament for Tobago West, I must express my sincerest gratitude to the Chairman, and Members of the Board of the National Commission for Self Help Limited for your outstanding work in pursuing the government’s mandate, and delivering on the Government’s promise to put people first.

To you the recipients, the Government has done its part, the next step is yours. It is my sincere hope that you understand and appreciate what these grants represent, the significance of today and the investment that the Government has and will continue to make through this and other projects and programmes. I challenge you to continuously improve your state, learn new skills, preserve the institution of the family and do your little bit to  safeguard your community and build your country.

National Development is a continuous and collaborative exercise. We, the Government vow to continue to do our part, I am confident that the private and social sector would do theirs and with boundless faith in our destiny, I truly trust that you will do yours.

On behalf of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, I thank you for reaching out for assistance and I thank you for exercising patience.Tough times don’t last, tough people we’ll rebuild our economy,  We will beat Corana, and we’ll come out on the other side,  bolder, brighter and stronger together.

May favor You, May God smile on Tobago, and May God richly Bless our Nation.

I thank you.