Photo: Contributed

Urial Davis is grateful for the Compassionate Grant of $10,000 that he received from the Government last month.

He says that the support, under the COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) programme, has been a big help for his family.

“I was very grateful. Trust me, you could see the smile on my face,” he tells JIS News.
“When it came, I had some bills that were outstanding, so it came at a wonderful time,” he adds.
Life has not been easy for the 44-year-old Kingston 7 resident since an accident at his job as a maintenance supervisor, more than six years ago, left him with a shoulder injury that makes him unable to use his hand normally.

Mr. Davis makes a living by selling ground provisions, but has seen a falloff in business due to COVID-19.

The married father of four children, with ages ranging from two to 24, says when he heard about the Compassionate Grant he quickly signed up.

He says the application process was quick and simple and he later received a text message confirming that he was eligible for assistance.

Mr. Davis says that as soon as he received the notification that the money was in his bank account, “I said ‘thank you God’ and I went and drew out every cent at the same time to pay the bills”.

Among them was the Internet bill, to ensure that his son could continue his studies online.

“I am giving God thanks for the little and I won’t be complaining. It came at a right time so I have to give God thanks,” he stresses.

Like Mr. Davis, 55-year-old Pamela Brown, a domestic helper of Stony Hill, St. Andrew, tells JIS News that she is thankful for the grant, as she has only been working one day per week since the COVID-19 outbreak in the island.

She says she was also able to help other family members.

“I gave my niece $2,000 out of it because she isn’t working and she was the one who told me about it (the grant) and signed up for me. I also give my son $2,000 and used the rest to buy grocery,” she notes.

For Andrea Murray, a 48-year-old part-time janitor who resides in Portmore, St. Catherine, the $10,000 came at a time when she was swamped by bills.

“I do appreciate it because I am not working right now. Mi have mi bills dem, mi have light, water and Internet, so to get this right now is really good, trust me. I wish it was more, but I won’t complain; it was beneficial to me,” she adds.

Another, beneficiary, Fiona Knight, says that the grant “is really a blessing”.
The 35-year-old nursing assistant, who has been out of a job for the past seven months, tells JIS News that she used the money to buy vegetable seedlings and some chickens to start a chicken-rearing and farming business. She used the remainder to buy food.

“I am really just very thankful and grateful,” the married mother of two from Clarendon says.
The Compassionate Grant is a component of the $10-billion CARE Programme, which is designed to cushion the adverse economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on resident Jamaican individuals and small businesses.

The grant is aimed at assisting persons who are either not formally employed or unemployed. These individuals will receive a one-time cash grant of $10,000.

A total of 401,314 persons applied for the Compassionate Grant, of which approximately 378,919 were deemed eligible and 22,395 or six per cent were determined to be ineligible due to the fact that they were on a recent payroll.

Approximately $2.65 billion in Compassionate Grant payments for some 265,000 applicants, or 70 per cent of those eligible has already been paid over to the financial institutions selected by applicants. Payments started on May 7.

The remainder is being processed including for the validation of banking information and individuals have until June 30 to collect from their chosen financial institution.

Other components of the CARE Programme include:

  • General Grant, which is aimed at supporting persons, who operate businesses registered either with a Municipal Authority, the Transport Authority or the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo); including barbers, hairdressers and taxi-drivers.
  • Business Employee Support and Transfer of Cash (BEST Cash), which will provide temporary cash transfer to businesses in targeted sectors based on the number of workers they keep employed;
  • Supporting Employees with Transfer of Cash (SET Cash ) – which will provide temporary cash transfer to individuals where it can be verified that they lost their employment since March 10 (the date of the first Covid case in Jamaica);
  • Small Business Grant, which will support businesses in the MSME sector with sales of $50 million or less;
  • Tourism Grant, for businesses operating in the tourism sector, inclusive of hotels, attractions and tours which are registered with TPDCo;
  • Path Grant, through which beneficiaries received an additional PATH payment between April and June.
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