Jamaica offers compassionate grants: Considers policy to benefit bar operators

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) and Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, provides an update on the Government’s COVID-19 Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme, during Monday’s (May 4) digital media briefing. [PHOTO: Adrian Walker]

By Caribbean News Global contributor

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Minister of finance and the public service, Dr Nigel Clarke, announced that  250,000 persons have been confirmed for compassionate grants under the government’s COVID-19 Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme, are expected to receive payments by the end of the week; part of the initial 380,000 persons confirmed as eligible for the grant, out of the 400,000 individuals applying during the verification exercise conducted between April 24 and May 1.

“The payments will be processed in batches of 1,000, which will be uploaded to the electronic payment system through the Bank of Jamaica, and payments will be remitted thereafter,” Dr Clarke explained:

  • 150,000 requested to be paid through remittance companies, and the other 230,000, via bank accounts.
  • The remaining 130,000 applicants were unable to be verified for payments as a result of issues with information that was submitted to a “large number” of the bank accounts.

The government will focus on processing the remaining applications and other CARE programme components during May. The $10 billion CARE programme aims to alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on individuals and entities. It forms part of the $25-billion relief package initiated by the government to deal with the health crisis.

Meanwhile, the government is working on a policy that should benefit 10,000 plus, bars, ordered closed on March 18, based on the Disaster Risk Management Act, 2020 to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The Cabinet spent a great deal of time discussing the issue of bars. A bar in Jamaica, aside from entertainment and the social gathering that happens there, is a significant economic activity,” prime minister Andrew Holness explained. The government is studying the impact of the measures on bars and the people whose livelihood depends on the bars,” he said.

“We are very sympathetic to that situation, and in a few days we will be able to say to the public exactly what measures we can take,” he noted.

The government has ordered that bars are to remain closed until May 31, 2020, primarily because they are places of gathering, which can increase community spread of COVID-19.

Source:  JIS daily News

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