Thu | Jul 2, 2020

EOJ reopens to help 6,000 access CARE benefits

Published:Sunday | May 31, 2020 | 12:35 AM

The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) has assisted roughly 6,000 Jamaicans to collect state benefits as they grapple with the economic fallout from the deadly coronavirus pandemic locally.

EOJ boss Glasspole Brown told The Sunday Gleaner that the EOJ provided temporary identification for some 6,000 individuals who were approved for the benefits under the COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme, but did not have a driver’s licence or passport to prove their identities.

“Although we closed early March because of the COVID-19 outbreak, we knew that this was a national effort, and so we opened our doors to assist,” Brown said last week.

The closure of the EOJ’s offices islandwide on March 13 has also delayed the publishing of the latest voters’ list, which should have been ready today. The new voters’ list is expected to be published on July 31. The last list, published on November 30, 2019, had 1,897,146 electors.

Containment measures implemented to stem the spread of the virus had also resulted in the shutting down of the continuous registration programme and delayed ID renewals and distribution.

“The viral outbreak affected the entire world, but because this was a smaller number, we felt that we could put all the necessary precautions in place to accommodate the beneficiaries,” Brown said.

Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke last week expressed gratitude to the EOJ for assisting the beneficiaries of the state assistance programme.

“This was a great help to thousands who did not have identification and this facilitation allowed them to collect their grants,” Clarke said Friday.