Fishers in the Green and Yellow Zones have not qualified for the one-off payment of income support. This is so because the fishers in those areas were assessed to not have been affected in a direct manner with respect to the eruption of the La Soufriere Volcano.
This was how Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves responded to President of the National Fisherfolk Organisation (NFO), Winsbert Harry, when he reported that a number of fishers were turned away when they went to receive the one off payment, which began on June 23.
Fishers, Harry said, were told categorically that they were not to receive the one-off payment of the $500 income support.
But Harry argued that fishers in the Green and Yellow zones were affected during the eruption – with the temporary closure of the fish market and that they were not able to fish in waters to the North which were off limits to vessels during the eruption.
He further contended that some fishers took in fishers and their families who were evacuated from the Red and Orange Zones, adding to their household costs.
So, while as the Prime Minister further stated that farmers and fishers will receive income and/or production support, the difference was in where the fishers resided.
Fishers living in areas South of Belle Isle on the Northwestern side, and those South of North and North Central Windward, will not be receiving the one-off payment.
“Fishers, if you are in the Orange Zone, you will get the same money like you get if you are a farmer. But there is no money for the fisher South of North Central or South of Belle Isle, for the simple reason that the fishers in those areas were assessed to not have been affected in a direct manner in respect of the Soufriere volcano,” Dr. Gonsalves explained.
Some EC$1.5 million had been set aside in a Supplementary Budget passed in Parliament on May 11, for the fishers, Dr. Gonsalves said, but added that fishers were expected to receive production assistance in the form of materials used in fishing, example fish pots and boats.