The second phase of the Unemployment Relief Programme is winding down with less than two weeks away from a change of government.  Prime Minister Dean Barrow, at his last press conference, alluded to the start of a third phase in early November, just prior to the general elections; however, that date or whether or not government will proceed with the initiative has not been confirmed.  Six months ago, James Young Jr. was terminated from his job as a deliveryman and subsequently applied for financial assistance through the programme.  While he qualified and was approved, he is yet to receive any monies and the programme, for all intents and purposes, is quickly winding down.  He shared his story with News Five and the headache that he’s had in attempting to receive help.

Voice of: James Young Jr., Unemployed

“I lost my job since March, since the COVID [situation] got hectic.  You know, I was delivering food but due to the circumstances [regarding] COVID, they had to let go some of the drivers.  So since then I had to park my cycle, but mein, it’s like one thing to the other.  They stole my cycle and I haven’t been working since March.  So that’s why I have you here.  I was depending on the assistance from the government.  I got approved, got the text and when I messaged the people, [there was] no answer, no time.”

Isani Cayetano

“Now you went through the process of filling out the paperwork and everything, you qualified for the program and were approved.  Talk to us about that part, receiving the approval either by text message or by email, however they sent you back that message.”

Voice of: James Young Jr.

“Well, I got approved on May eleventh, I think it was.  I got the confirmation text and after that I kept sending them messages, hoping for them to answer me about when to pick it up, blah, blah.  Months and months keep going by and no answer.  And then I saw the story when like, the thousand top up cards they call it.  The thousand to up cards that, you know, people haven’t been picking up.  So I thought my one was hopefully in that thousand, you know, but still, up to this day bro, no nothing.”

One Man’s Account of the Unemployment Relief Program

According to Young, while he made a mistake initially during the filling out of the form, he was assured by the Social Security Board that the matter would have been rectified.  In fact, he received a message from them informing him that it had been corrected.  Still he received no disbursement.

Voice of: James Young Jr., Unemployed

“I went to check at Social [Security Board], no card, nobody called me or anything, so I don’t know what to do.  So I came to you.  Hopefully something can happen now.”

Isani Cayetano

“Did you by any chance provide them with the actual account number and the correct information?  Because I know that has been part of their complaint, while people have qualified and are approved, some people send in wrong bank information, misspelled names, wrong address and what have you.

Voice of: James Young Jr.

“That was the issue for me as well, but they said they would fix it and text me and told me that they would have the top up card and all I had to do was go to Heritage [Bank] pick up the pin number and start the withdrawal process or whatever.  But they did tell me that I sent in the wrong information, but they text me and told me that I was approved.  Mein, from May eleventh I got approved, so I don’t know.”

Isani Cayetano

“Did you go to Heritage Bank?”

Voice of: James Young Jr.

“Yeah, I went there and Social [Security Board].  I went to Heritage Bank and they sent me to Social [Security Board], go to Social [Security Board] then they sent me to Heritage Bank and then they post this and that, round and around.  Then they tell you call this number, call that number and no answer.”

Channel 5