Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer
The Government this morning revealed that it has already paid out more than 5,000 cheques to persons whose houses were badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy.
However, Minister without portfolio in the housing ministry, Dr Morais Guy was unable to say the total amount that has been paid out.
The cheques are valued between $30,000 and 60,000 each and the beneficiaries are mainly from the parishes of St Thomas, Portland and St Mary.
Speaking at the Jamaica House Press Briefing this morning, State Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Luther Buchanan said close to 16,000 persons have been assessed to receive assistance.
However, Buchanan said the approximately 10,000 remaining are on hold because the verification process is still ongoing.
He said the delay is due in part to the governmentís move to protect the integrity of the process through which payments are made.
According to Buchanan, investigators have seen cases were some people have attempted to collect more than one cheque.
Meanwhile, Dr. Morais Guy said work is progressing on the construction of 82 houses.
He said 28 houses have already been completed.
However, Dr. Guy said the Engineering Unit at the Jamaica Defence Force has been brought on board in an effort to complete about 500 houses before Christmas Day.
However, he noted that construction efforts have been hampered by several issues including the recent heavy rains in eastern parishes.
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