Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says several categories of tourism workers, who applied for General Grants under the Government’s COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme, will receive their payments by the end of next week.
In statement on Friday (June 26), Dr. Clarke indicated that these individuals include: airport red caps, golf caddies, raft captains, independent tour guides, craft producers and vendors, and Jamaica Union of Travellers Association (JUTA), Jamaica Co-operative Automobile and Limousine (JCAL) Tours Ltd., and MAXI Tours operators.
He pointed out that applications for the remaining eligible occupational groups are being processed, with payments slated to be made shortly.
Dr. Clarke also advised that steps are being taken to rectify issues resulting from a message generated on June 25 which erroneously indicated that 1,788 JUTA, JCAL and MAXI operators were deemed ineligible for the General Grant, consequent on their not registering with a Municipality.
“This message was generated due to a system error. Individual eligibility for JUTA, JCAL and MAXI is being assessed by reference to the Transport Authority and/or Tourism Product Company Development Company (TPDCo) registrations. This message is being corrected and affected persons will receive an individual and personal text message from the CARE Programme apologizing for the error,” he informed.
Meanwhile, the results for the eligibility and verification processes for Business Employee Support and Transfer of Cash (BEST Cash) Grant applications, which Dr. Clarke said have been completed, are now being reviewed by the Attorney General’s Department (AGD).
“Transfers will be made as soon as this [review] is completed, which we expect for the first half of next week,” he added.
The BEST Cash component is intended to support businesses in tourism and related sectors to retain employees with taxable income of up to $1.5 million.
The Minister further indicated that Supporting Employees with Transfer of Cash (SET Cash) grant payments for April have been made, while those for May have commenced and will continue next week.
The SET Cash component aims to support employees with taxable income of $1.5 million or less, who were laid off or whose jobs were terminated.
Dr. Clarke advised that approximately 90 per cent of eligible CARE Grant applicants have received payments since the initiative commenced on April 9.
“The CARE Programme Team wishes to assure applicants that… we are working assiduously to complete the processing and transfer with respect to all eligible applications as soon as possible,” the Minister further stated.
The $10-billion CARE Programme aims to alleviate the economic impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (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.