Kingston, 12 May 2020 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says improvements will be made in the disbursement of Compassionate Grants at the Independence Park complex in Kingston.
People who selected GKMS/Western Union to receive their Compassionate Grants under the Government’s CARE programme began receiving their disbursements at Mas Camp in Independence Park this morning (Tuesday).
Mas Camp was selected after GKMS/Western Union outlets were unable to process the large number of beneficiaries while practising social distancing.
Minister Grange, who has responsibility for Independence Park, said hundreds of people were able to collect their grants at Mas Camp on Tuesday, but the government was concerned about the large crowd and lack of adherence to social distancing rules.
“The CARE programme is what the acronym says: the government cares about people and the funds that are being made available to these people are to assist them in this challenging period of covid-19; and it’s extremely important that they receive these contributions in a safe environment with dignity,” said Minister Grange.
Following her discussions with the Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness; the Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr the Honourable Nigel Clarke; officials of the Ministry of Health and Wellness; the leadership of GKMS/Western Union; the leadership of the HOPE programme; and the Management of Independence Park Limited, Minister Grange announced improvements to the disbursement process with effect from Wednesday, 13 May 2020.
“Mas Camp and the car park area is large enough to facilitate the number of people who will come, primarily able-bodied people,” said Minister Grange who also announced that the National Arena will be made available to more vulnerable people to collect their grants.
“The National Arena will be used to facilitate the elderly, pregnant women and people with disabilities.”
Several additional tents will be erected in the car park to provide shelter for the CARE beneficiaries.
Hydration, sanitisation and medical stations are being set up across Independence Park.
Participants in the HOPE will monitor queues to ensure social distancing is observed and give general assistance to the CARE beneficiaries.
“It’s a team that has come together to ensure that all the things that are necessary are put in place and that the people who come will be able to receive their CARE packages in a manner that is befitting each Jamaican,” said Minister Grange.