Orealla-Siparuta residents receive COVID-19 cash grant

Rita Romalho collected her COVID-19 relief cash on behalf of her household of seven in Orealla

Approximately $8.1 million has been distributed to residents of the community of Orealla and Siparuta in the Upper reaches of the Corentyne River under the Government’s COVID-19 relief programme.
This relief cash grant was given to residents of the two Amerindian communities on Monday and Tuesday. The countrywide exercise started late September in Region One (Barima-Waini), and was rolled out in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) on October 13.
To date, some 53,111 households in Region 6 have received the $25,000 cash grant, and in excess of $1 billion has been expended. In Orealla, 229 households have benefited, while in Siparuta, 98 families have benefited.
Meanwhile, according to Coordinator Zamall Hussain, the project recommenced on Tuesday in New Amsterdam.
“We are closing off the COVID relief in Region Six, so we don’t have much more to do, just New Amsterdam, which includes Angoy’s Avenue,” he explained.
Mount Sinai has a population of more than 15,000, but has many extended families and buildings in which people are subletting.
Hussain is optimistic that the exercise can be completed early next week, as another riverine community is yet to be reached. “During the course of the week, we will be going into Baracara to do the COVID relief distribution,” he explained.
Hussain has related that the distribution process in the region did not go as smoothly as had been anticipated.
“We have had people trying to impersonate two families, where the husband wants to collect and the wife wants to collect. We also had instances where persons went to houses which are abandoned. Some of them actually carry clothes and furniture at the house, but because of the vigilance of the team working on the ground and doing the verification, we were able to identify those persons,” the coordinator explained.
He also expressed appreciation for the vigilance of the many persons who pointed out such cases of impersonation.
“I want to thank the people who supported the grant. Those were the ones who gave us the information from the various villages. Maybe some persons still got through, because (in) some areas we did not get the cooperation; but I think we did an excellent job in terms of the distribution,” Hussain said.
He explained that in cases where persons were not at home when the team visited, arrangements are being made to accommodate them.
The cash grants are being distributed to HOUSEHOLDS, and not to every family.
Where there are two or more households in a building, the principal householder is given the grant while the other households are being asked to fill up a ‘pink form’ which will be sent to the Presidential Secretariat for verification.
Those persons will be receiving their grants at the end of the current countrywide exercise.