Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he is “very concerned, very worried” about some hardship which is beginning to be felt by Vincentian seafarers who have been laid off as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said on WE FM on Sunday that seafarers would send home money but on many of the cruise ships, during the time when they were in holding operation they were not being paid a salary.
“They are having some challenges and over 1,000 of them have come home and I have to find a way to get some resources to help them in a similar manner like I have been helping the unemployed people here and those who are the vendors and the like,” Gonsalves said.
Between April and June, the state has given monthly payouts of EC$300 or EC$200 to various categories of persons affected by the pandemic.
“By the way, is 2,300 vendors already. The number has just risen and, of course, you have over 3,000 getting the unemployment benefit,” Gonsalves said.
Vincentian sailors spent weeks in quarantine on board their vessels before being able to return home because of travel restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.