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More than 500,000 Jamaicans apply for COVID Care Programme

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Photo from BlogJamaica.com

KINGSTON, JAMAICA – May 13, 2020 – The Government’s COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme has received more than 500,000 applications across the available grant types.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, made the disclosure while giving an update in the House of Representatives on May 12.

He said that given the disproportionately high number of applications for the Compassionate Grant (over 400,000), processing and payment of these has taken precedence. 

            Dr. Clarke informed the Lower House that Compassionate Grant transfers to financial institutions began during the middle of last week and the funds have been available to applicants since May 7.

            He noted that many persons selected to receive the funds through remittance companies.

            “We had a total of 401,314 Compassionate Grants, of which 210,267 applications sought the commercial bank avenue of payment, 162,024 sought to be paid through remittance agencies, and 29,023 sought to be paid through                      credit unions/building societies,” he told the House.

            He said that of the total number of applicants, approximately 378,919 were deemed eligible and 22,395 or six per cent were determined to be ineligible due to the fact that they are on a recent payroll.

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So far, approximately $2.65 billion in Compassionate Grant payments for some 265,000 applicants, or 70 per cent of those eligible, has been made to the financial institutions selected by applicants. The remainder are being processed, including for the validation of banking information.

The Finance and the Public Service Minister said applicants who have received a text message confirming eligibility and whose bank accounts have been verified can expect the funds to be sent directly to their account.

More than 106,000 applicants, who elected to receive Compassionate Grants by way of their bank accounts, have had their accounts credited.

“Where the bank account information submitted is not valid, which may arise, for example, if the name on the account differs from the name on the application, or if the branch is incorrect, or if the account is dormant, the applicant receives a text message advising of such and they are invited to correct the banking information or to select to receive their grant by remittance. Once the updates are completed, these transfers will be made after revalidating and batching,” Dr. Clarke said.

            “Last Friday, May 8, we had 77,000 applicants in this category. As at May 12, that number was reduced to 44,000 as applicants corrected their banking information,” he noted.

Dr. Clarke is reminding persons collecting grants through remittance agencies that they are required to present a government-issued picture identification (ID) card, Tax Registration Number (TRN) and Application Reference Number.

            “Where an applicant does not have a government-issued ID but is on the printed Voter’s List, he/she can contact the Electoral Office of Jamaica, which will open their offices on May 13,” he indicated.

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            He is appealing for beneficiaries to follow the guidelines of remittance companies to ensure an orderly procedure for collection.

            He said that beneficiaries have until June 30 to collect the funds from their chosen financial institution, “so there is no need to rush”.

            Dr. Clarke noted that arrangements have been made for beneficiaries to collect payments through remittance companies on the grounds of the National Stadium and inside the National Arena in order to allow for a more orderly and comfortable process.

            “We will be moving to make similar arrangements at large open spaces in other parishes, starting with St. Catherine, where we have a large number of applicants,” he said.

            In addition, Dr. Clarke said the Government is exploring mechanisms for third-party collection of Compassionate Grants for persons over 65 years old.

JIS News By LATONYA LINTON

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Caribbean News

CTO Chairman Hails Success of Business Meetings in Saint-Martin

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February 22, 2024 – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) concluded its business meetings last week in Saint-Martin, marking a significant milestone in the collaborative efforts to strengthen and revitalize the Caribbean tourism sector. Under the direction of Chairman Kenneth Bryan, who also serves as Minister of Tourism and Ports for the Cayman Islands, the CTO has embarked on a transformative journey to reimagine its role and impact within the global tourism landscape.

“When I took over as chairman (in 2022), we decided to go through a reimagining exercise and you can start to see the changes already,” said Chairman Bryan, citing the appointment of Secretary-General and CEO Dona Regis-Prosper, the return of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Bermuda to the 25-member body, and the re-engagement of destinations such as Montserrat as examples of the progress made.

A highlight of the meetings was the presentation of a comprehensive plan for the year ahead by Regis-Prosper, the first woman appointed to the post in the organization’s history.

This year’s first series of business meetings focused on defining a strategic direction for the upcoming year and reviewing the organization’s accomplishments since Minister Bryan’s tenure began. “The discussions were fruitful and reflective of the vibrant spirit that characterizes our collective efforts,” stated Minister Bryan. “The CTO is moving towards a reimagined, revitalized and relevant future, with a clear focus on overcoming challenges through unity and shared vision,” he asserted.

A significant part of the meetings centered on the critical role of aviation in connecting the Caribbean. Chairman Bryan emphasized the commitment to enhancing regional connectivity and addressing the complexities of aviation logistics, highlighting a resolution to engage with key stakeholders, including the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and regional airlines, to advocate for increased seat capacity and facilitate more seamless travel within the Caribbean.

The group discussed the possibility of staging a Caribbean aviation conference: an assembly of airline and airport authority executives; hotel brands; tourism stakeholders; and government ministers with responsibility for tourism, civil aviation, regulatory and finance matters. “We need robust dialogue on the necessary changes to incentivize more connectivity within the region, so we’re going to put our foot down on the gas concerning this because it’s a serious concern for many members, particularly in the Eastern Caribbean.”

Reflecting on his tenure as chairman, Minister Bryan is encouraged by the progress made, particularly in stabilizing the organization’s fiscal position, increasing membership confidence, and positioning the CTO prominently in global tourism discussions. The CTO’s efforts have also focused on leveraging technology, artificial intelligence, and digital media to enhance the Caribbean’s appeal as the world’s leading warm-weather destination.

The CTO’s vision also encompasses a rebranding of the organization and a reinforcement of the foundational spirit of Caribbean kinship. “Our goal is to ensure that every member state feels tangible value from its involvement with the CTO, fostering a sense of belonging and collective achievement,” commented Minister Bryan.

He said CTO’s strategic direction, under the Secretary-General’s leadership, promises a dynamic and inclusive future for Caribbean tourism, one that emphasizes innovation, collaboration, and a deepened sense of regional camaraderie.

 

Photo Caption: Kenneth Bryan, Chairman of CTO’s Ministerial Council and Minister of Tourism and Ports of the Cayman Islands (left), is pictured with CTO Secretary-General Dona Regis-Prosper; Bermuda Minister of Tourism Owen Darrell; and Rosa Harris, Chairman of CTO’s Board of Directors and Director of Tourism for the Cayman Islands.

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Caribbean News

DIGICEL BUSINESS’ HOSPITALITY SOLUTIONS IS REVOLUTIONISING THE GUEST EXPERIENCE

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February 22, 2024 – Digicel Business is proud to introduce its cutting-edge Hospitality Solutions, designed to transform the guest experience in hotels, resorts, and hospitality establishments worldwide. With a commitment to innovation and excellence, Digicel Business is empowering the hospitality industry to thrive in a digital age. In an era where guests expect seamless connectivity, personalized experiences, and efficient services, Digicel Business is at the forefront of delivering solutions that meet these evolving demands. Our Hospitality Solutions suite offers a range of services and technologies that will redefine the way guests interact with your establishment.

Key features of Digicel Business Hospitality Solutions include:

  1. Reliable & Secure Connectivity: Ensure lightning-fast, secure internet access throughout your property, enabling guests to stay connected effortlessly, whether for work or leisure.
  2. Enhanced Guest Experiences: Elevate customer satisfaction and loyalty with convenient and customized experiences, including Hospitality TV, Push to Talk radio, Access Control, Fixed Voice for your front desk and rooms & Video Surveillance.
  3. Efficient Operations: Increase operational performance and efficiency, reduce operational cost by reduction of manual processes. Focus on what you do best, while we take care of the rest.
  4. Security Solutions: Secure customers’ data with solutions that are easy to use but sophisticated enough to keep you secure. 5. Scalability: Our solutions are adaptable to properties of all sizes, from boutique hotels to sprawling resorts, ensuring a customized fit for your establishment. 6. Dedicated Support: Digicel Business provides support to ensure hotels and resorts can resolve any connectivity or technology-related issues promptly.

Lydia Tucker, Head of Digicel Business Turks & Caicos, commented: “The hospitality industry is undergoing a significant transformation, with digital technologies at the forefront of this evolution. At Digicel Business, we are committed to helping our partners in the hospitality sector embrace these changes and deliver unparalleled guest experiences. Our comprehensive suite of Hospitality Solutions is designed to enhance operational efficiency, increase guest satisfaction, and drive revenue growth.”

As the Caribbean and Central America‘s leading communications and technology solutions provider, Digicel Business continues to invest in cutting-edge solutions that empower businesses across various sectors

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Caribbean News

Employees Entitled Time Off to Vote

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#Kingston, February 22, 2024 – As the February 26 Local Government Elections approach, the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) is reminding employers that workers are entitled time off to vote.

Director of Elections, Glasspole Brown, told JIS News that under the law, every employer is required to permit employees who intend to vote, three hours to do so. This is in addition to the usual lunch hour.

“I appeal to the business owners [and] various institutions, allow persons who are desirous of casting their ballots the time off to go and do so; and they should be allowed three hours between the period of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.,” he said.

Mr. Brown noted that the law does not apply to persons who commence work at 10:00 a.m. or later, or end work at or before 2:00 p.m.

Electors are encouraged to make the appropriate arrangements with their employers before Election Day.

They are also encouraged to vote throughout the day, rather than just the first two hours of polling when the lines are longest.

Voters are also reminded to bring their Voter Identification (ID) card on Election Day, as it will allow for quicker and easier processing.

“However, I must point out that even if you do not have your ID card, you will be allowed to vote as long as your name is on the voters’ list. We have several processes to be able to identify you as an elector. While it is important and would help the system in bringing your ID card, as long as your name is on the list, you will be accommodated to vote on Election Day,” Mr. Brown stated.

Persons without an ID will be required to answer questions, take an oath, and be fingerprinted to verify their identity.

 

Contact: Shanna K. Salmon

Release: JIS

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