Senior Minister and Minister with Responsibility for Labour and Social Security, Hon. Vance Amory, said there was no need for anyone to go to the Social Security Building Friday to collect cheques from the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, because the process to do so has not yet been completed.
“I have been made aware that there is an organized disinformation campaign being waged against the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board, and by extension against the people of St. Kitts and Nevis by illicit actors on social media,” Senior Minister Amory said whiledenouncing a fake announcement circulating on social media instructing people to turn up at the Social Security Building for their cheques.“Their part aim is to sow public confusion and social unrest and also to endanger the health of our people during this global pandemic by seeking to encourage a crowd to assemble in front of the Social Security building tomorrow, Friday, April, 3, 2020, from 8 a.m. to collect their income assistance cheques.”
He said that the Social Security Board will make a statement when it is ready to disburse the funds.
“Let me advise that Social Security will issue, when it is ready in the shortest possible time later this month, the times, dates when such payment will be made. And in the first instance, because Social Security will not have all of the bank accounts for all of the workers so affected, I’m advising that the first tranche would be paid at Social Security, but that information will be given by notice from the public relations officer at Social Security,” Senior Minister Amory said.
He explained the Emergency Relief Fund would pay up to 1,000 dollars monthly for three months, in the first instance, to persons whose income has been impacted by COVID-19.
“Let me make it abundantly clear that the 1,000 dollars is the maximum amount which would be paid to any person who has suffered a loss of income. Where any worker who receives part-time or reduced income would receive some payment, the Social Security Board will top up the amount which is received to make it 1,000 dollars in total,” Senior Minister Amory said. “Your Ministry of Labour and the Department of Labour is collecting all of the information and will process all of the application forms at the Department of Labour, and those would be submitted to Social Security for final processing and payment.”
He said the Department of Labour has written to all employers to collect data, which will include the names of all persons employed by them, who will be affected by COVID-19, resulting in their being laid off, given reduced hours, or anything else which would reduce income.
“I make this statement because we are aware that there are those in the society who are calculated to create confusion and provide misinformation,” he said. “Let us stand together and let us not be fooled and misled by this destructive fake news, which is a creation of those persons, who have no interest but to create confusion in this country.”
“The workers of this Federation are dear to the heart of the Ministry of Labour and the Team Unity Government and we will do all in our power to make sure that the interests of the workers are properly looked after,” The senior minister added, encouraging all citizens and residents to be safe and to stay indoors when the curfew indicates.