Scores show up at NIB Sando for new Grant

Story by SASCHA WILSON

Scores of people gathered in front of the National Insurance Board in San Fernando this morning, seeking to apply for the government’s Salary Relief Grant.

On Monday, Finance Minister Colm announced that the Salary Relief Grant will be given to people who lost their jobs as a result of measures taken to curb the spread of COVID-19.

During a press conference at the Diplomatic Centre, the minister said such persons would be able to access the grant of $1,500 a month for three months.

This morning, at the NIB offices in San Fernando, while the crowds gathered in front of the closed front gate, a security officer was captured on video urging people not to gather there. A passing police vehicle was seen slowly driving by as the security officer spoke to them.

Around 9.30 am, more than ten people were still gathered by the office, some in front of the gate, while others stood on the opposite side of the road on Harris Promenade. Only four customers were being allowed into the building at a time.

A 38-year-old sales clerk from Barrackpore who was sent home two weeks ago, said she was waiting in front the building for more than a half an hour.

“My bosses not telling me whether they will give me two or three days a week (work). So when I heard  that the minister is going to give $1,500 a month to people who are losing their work, I came this morning to see what help I could get.”

However, she complained that she worked at the store for a year, but her employer failed to pay her NIS.

“I brought all my documents and receipts where I use to pay NIS from the other jobs I work and I hoping I could get some kind of help.”

64-year-old Agnes Logan said she had been waiting for more than an hour.

“I came here just to collect a form. They called and told me to come today. The girl came and took my name so I am waiting.”

A 56-year-old CEPEP worker of Barrackpore said he also came to apply for the salary relief grant.

“Work close off until further notice. I not working since the 19th or the 20th.”

Another woman said she was happy that the government was assisting them because she worked at a restaurant but was sent home last week.