Mother and baby stage picket of Social Security Scheme, demanding payment of long-outstanding maternity benefit

A fed-up mother braved the rainy conditions on Monday morning, December 19, to mount a one-woman protest at the Social Security Scheme headquarters, calling for payment of her maternity benefits.

Onesha Elvin, along with her 10-month-old son, stood outside the office at the corner of Cross and Long Streets carrying a placard that read: “Why should I have to wait 6, 10, 12 months for my benefits?”

Elvin spoke to REAL News correspondent George Wehner, declaring  that she is tired of waiting to get what is duly hers, especially since she is currently unemployed.

This is a situation affecting other mothers, and Elvin says she has decided to stand up to force a response from the Scheme and the authorities behind it.

The woman notes that with the current cost of living, baby items, including formula and pampers, have become quite expensive.

Elvin complains that, on the eve of Christmas, she is unable to get her money; and she wants to be paid, she says, so that she can have some Christmas cheer in her home come Sunday, December 25.

Since she is struggling so much, even with the assistance of her partner, she says she can only imagine the challenges faced in single-parent households.

Elvin says that women – and, more importantly, the citizens of Antigua and Barbuda – should never be afraid to stand up for their rights and beliefs, since it takes only one person to effect meaningful change.

Wehner, who is also the United Progressive Party’s Mobilization Officer, says the Browne Administration continues to squander millions in taxpayers’ money ahead of the general election.

Accordingly, he, too, is calling on the Social Security Scheme to settle outstanding maternity claims before Christmas for the many mothers and their newborns who need to receive their cheques.