Minister of Planning and Development, Camille Robinson-Regis, MP, laying papers before the House.

Gail Alexander

Government is considering extending the Salary Relief Grant to other areas apart from workers in bars and restaurants, says Social Development Minister Camille Robinson- Regis.

She said so in Parliament yesterday responding to Opposition queries.

This particular grant, which is up to $1,500 for up to three months, was part of assistance given by the state for workers whose businesses were closed during COVID-19 lockdown.

She said the Finance Ministry advised that as at May 21 some 15,333 grants were paid.

The total cost to taxpayers was $21.17 million.

Robinson-Regis reiterated other assistance given:

the top-up of 21,500 food cards costing taxpayers $17 million

assistance for senior citizens whose pensions weren’t finalized, costing $12.6m,

and $1.6m for disability grants for 488 people whose applications weren’t yet approved.

She cited $15m worth of food support measures, $30m in grants to churches and $30m for 14 corporations to assist people.

Robinson-Regis said 20,497 temporary food cards went to families costing $31.3 m.

Out of the 1,012 rental relief applications, 657 were processed and 52 fraudulent ones rejected.

On Opposition MP Rodney Charles’ concern that his area has 3,000 school feeding participants and his area only received 600 food cards, Robinson-Regis said the list done on the situation was two-fold.

She said some students already have food cards and several children from some households are in the programme. Those who didn’t get food cards received market box hampers plus $250 grocery vouchers.

Also in Parliament, Public Utilities Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said one TTEC employee from a crew was sent for COVID-19 testing on May 12. With his results pending, on May 19, five other crew employees were sent to Mt Hope.

However, they weren’t tested. They were given sick leave pending his results.

He said TTEC implemented systems to ensure Health Ministry mechanisms to protect employees and customers.