Despite the danger of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the fact that senior citizens are particularly vulnerable, pensioners were still forced to line up in their numbers to collect their latest pension payments.
According to People’s Progressive Party Presidential Candidate, Dr Irfaan Ali, it is necessary for systems to be implemented which caters for the elderly.
Ali suggested, as one measure, that the elderly receive advance payments for at least two months, thus eliminating the need for them to even have to leave their homes.
“Pensioners form part of the most vulnerable group. What we’ve seen is no adjustment in the administrative mechanism,” the Presidential Candidate explained.
“One of the things they could have easily done is for the period they have this lockdown, one cheque could have been written for the two months,” he added.
Back in March, the Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC) had urged senior citizens to refrain from visiting the post offices during the first two days of the month unless it is absolutely necessary since vouchers can be cashed throughout the month.
This had come in light of thousands of senior citizens who are usually congregated at the various post offices to access their pension payment every first and second day of each new month.
As such, GPOC had stated that it is working to implement standardised measures across its offices in the 10 administrative regions to stop the spread of the deadly virus.
GPOC had also said it will be enforcing a minimum distance of three feet between persons accessing services. Persons, according to GPOC, would be asked to sanitise their hands upon entry at post offices and those who are coughing or have a cold will be provided with a face mask.
Further, GPOC had stated that it has provided its staff with all the necessary resources to ensure that they are protected from the virus.
But in spite of all of this, a crowd of pensioners still showed up at the Bourda Post Office on April 1. The crowd did not practice social distancing and many did not wear face masks.
The corporation subsequently announced that it will be closed from April 9 until further notice.
The GPOC also said that as such, bulk mail will be accepted on April 16 and 17, 2020, in which notices will be publicised and sent to the relevant agencies.
The post office corporation stated that the treasury pensions will be paid on April 22 and 23, 2020, at all post offices from 09:00h to 15:00h.