Distribution of school-uniform vouchers already past 20,000 as programme enters its final week; sign of the times, source says

Voucher distribution for the School Uniform Grant passed 20,000 as the programme entered its final week on Monday, August 29.

Organizers say the final number of vouchers will be calculated and made public after the initiative comes to an end this Friday, September 2.

This will be the culmination of another successful year of voucher distribution, which commenced on July 4.

The Supervisor of the programme, Tanesha McKenzie-James, says those who intend to access the benefit, but have not yet done so, should do so before time runs out.

Parents who access the programme in the remaining days will be required to present a government-issued photo identification card; identification for the child; and an acceptance letter or third-term report for the student, McKenzie-James says.

The School Uniform Grant is one of the largest social programmes of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda. Under the initiative, implemented by the United Progressive Party (UPP) Administration, each beneficiary currently receives a regular school uniform. 

Meanwhile, the fact that so many vouchers have been distributed is a clear indication of how grave the economic situation is, a source says.

Many parents are unemployed, and even those who are financially stable have applied to the programme due to the high cost of living, the source speculates.