By: Andrew Carmichael
Over 25,000 households are expected to benefit from the $25,000 per household cash grant as the government’s COVID-19 relief initiative kicks off in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice).
Distribution of the cash grants to each household started in the two extremes of the Region – the Woodlands/Farm Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) in Mahaica and the Ithaca area at the Blairmont/Gelderland NDC in the eastern end of the Region.
Regional Coordinator Rian Pieters said on Tuesday that some $625 million is expected to be distributed in that region over next three weeks.
President Dr Irfaan Ali had announced a series of relief measures, including a $25,000 per household cash transfer to cushion the effects of COVID-19 ahead of the emergency budget.
The Government began distributing the grant in keeping with its promise to bring economic relief to citizens in face of the hardships created as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo only recently noted that where there might be more than one family living in one home, representation will have to be made outside of the normal distribution.
Those additional householders are being asked to fill a pink form (query form) which will be sent to the presidential secretariat for verification.
Meanwhile, recipients in Region Five were very happy and referred to the relief package as being timely.
Anna Sinclair, 86, told this publication that the money will help her pay her overdue bills.
“I will buy some tablets (medication) for myself. It will also help with the bills.”
Another resident of Ithaca, Fran Samuels, was all smiles after receiving her envelope.
“I am grateful for this because it will do something for me. I have to buy food, rice, flour, sugar and some meat. Once I get food, I am good. Thank you so much,” Samuels said as she looked upwards.
“Oh my God… It will do a great deal for me because I was in great need of a stove and I will put the rest that is needed to buy the stove. Thank you President Irfaan Ali,” Donna Sinclair said while being unable to hold back her outwards expressions of joy.
Meanwhile, in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), the project is almost coming to a close. Regional Coordinator Zamal Hussain said they are currently in the wrapping up stage.
More than fifty thousand households were expected to receive the cash grants in the Region.
The last major area tackled was the riverine communities of Baracara and Acura up the Canje River. The two communities are about twelve miles apart.
At Baracara, which is situated on the east and west banks fifty-two miles up the river, about 200 households received the cash rants.
30-year-old Candace Quentin, a mother of four, noted that the COVID 19 pandemic has negatively affected her family since her husband was unable to work for six months.
“To get want you want you have to go and catch a bird and sell it to get some finance. They would go into the savannah and catch the birds and sell them.” Quentin further explained that the birds that her husband goes after are those that many keep in cages.
At Acura, which is home to about 1000 residents, households from communities situated at scattered locations further up the river, gathered. Some were reluctant to provide information for the pink form, saying that it would take too long for them to collect the money.
Nevertheless, more than 20,000 households at Acura received the cash grants.