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More than 500,000 Jamaicans apply for COVID Care Programme

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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

Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

 

#Barbados, February 2, 2023 – Barbados has been selected to host the 41st edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace. The event will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown from May 9 -11, and it is expected to build on the success of the 40th staging held in Puerto Rico last fall.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who made the announcement recently, said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the association’s largest annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services, will be staged in Barbados.

“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.

Noting that: “This year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.”

Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados Ian Gooding-Edghill, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.

“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,”  Minister Gooding-Edghill said, noting that the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.

The launch of the first Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards, a highlight of the Puerto Rico meeting, will return for a second edition and will be held in Barbados on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, ahead of the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

The Forum will also focus on the business of tourism, and business appointments will be conducted on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11.

Over 150 delegates, including Ministers of Tourism and key private sector leaders, engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum last year.

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Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

 

#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.

“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.

Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.

Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”

The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.

Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.

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Caribbean News

Guyana secures cryotherapy machines to help fight cervical cancer

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

 

#Guyana, February 2, 2023 – Guyana will see a significant boost to its healthcare system soon as the health ministry has acquired 20 cryotherapy machines to help treat and prevent cervical cancer, the second most prevalent cancer among women in the country.

Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, involves cooling the body’s tissues for therapeutic purposes and removing the abnormal tissue. This type of therapy is also used to treat many skin conditions and some cancers, including prostate, cervical and liver cancer.

The Health Ministry said the machines will help clear the backlog of patients needing such treatment.

Director of the Non-Communicable Diseases Programme of the Health Ministry, Dr. Latchmie Lall, said the equipment will be very instrumental in providing immediate service to patients.

“We are indeed very thankful for this donation of cryotherapy machines that were brought through the IDB project; a total of 20 machines that are going to be used to improve our screening services for cervical cancer; this will come as a great measure for not only screening but to provide immediate medical treatment in that if we do find a pathological cervix, cryotherapy can be applied immediately, and we have one healthy patient going back home to her family,” Dr. Lall said.

Director of Primary Healthcare Services, Dr. Ertensia Hamilton, said the equipment comes at an opportune time when the ministry is extending its services for women of reproductive age across the country.

“We recognise that Guyana still has a high incidence of cervical cancer in our women, and so we want to be able to have services available to them as we work towards ensuring that each individual across their life course has services to meet their medical needs,” she said.

Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, during his comment, revealed that Guyana is trying to develop a comprehensive programme for cervical cancer.

“One of the things that we are trying to do is to have a comprehensive cervical cancer programme. The first level will be to prevent cervical cancer. We want to do that by encouraging people to get the HPV vaccination. We have these vaccines available. We have been rolling them out to ensure that every person eligible for these vaccines gets them.”

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