A total of 518 employees have benefited from the salary support scheme under the Government of Montserrat’s COVID-19 stimulus package.
According to Premier and Minister of Finance Joseph Farrell during a live press conference on Wednesday morning, 44 businesses applied for the grants under the tourism sector COVID-19 Salary Support, representing 149 employees. Of this number, 23 businesses were successful supporting 75 employees. Government of Montserrat has awarded a cash injection to a value of $106,099 per month, under this incentive package.
The government has also given a monthly cash injection to a value of $617,527 under the COVID19 Salary Support across all other businesses. 140 businesses applied covering 510 employees; 90 businesses supporting 369 employees were successful.
Premier Farrell said to date, $723,626 has been approved in financial assistance across both sectors supporting 518 employees at 80% of their salary.
For the tourism One-Off grant scheme, 58 businesses applied and 50 were successful. The government has approved grants which assist with monthly bills such as rent and utilities of $76,375.
The minister of finance said for those employees who did not receive the salary grant, they can apply for social support via th e Social Services Department.
The current grant cycle is April to June/ Minister Farrell said if further support is warranted, they will approach DFID about this. The need for additional financial aid is dependent on whether the island is able to reopen within short. Two more phases of reopening are expected, although no timeline has been given on when these will be. In Phase three, bars, night clubs and gyms will be allowed to open. In phase four, the island’s borders will be open.
Regional Member States of CARICOM and OECS are working on air and cruise travel protocols. However, it is up to each island to set its own schedule of when it is ready to open their borders, Premier Farrell stated.
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Montserrat remains a colony of Britain. For those who shamelessly yearn for a return to the good old days of colonialism, this might be a covetous position. Membership, it would appear to the greedy and lazy, has its privileges!
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