‘Me cannot afford it’ - Inner-city residents say they are unable to stock up on food, essentials
'Stay at home' has become a familiar rhetoric used by the Jamaican Government, in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19.
People have also been advised to stock up on necessities like food and medication, but the average person - the low-income earners and the unemployed - simply cannot afford to do so.
In fact, some of these people even struggle on a 'regular' day.
Althea, who lives in Riverton City in Kingston, works in a wholesale that is now seeing fewer working hours. She told THE WEEKEND STAR that stocking up is not an option with her salary.
"Me try me best fi stock up but I can't buy things in bulk. I buy things in threes ... three sausage, macaroni and cheese, Lasco and things like that. Me have two kids and school lock now, so a ration! If me pull a tin of sausage, each a dem get two. The rest go in a the fridge. So me afi do it," she said.
The last time she went sourcing food was more than two weeks ago. She would rather be much more prepared.
"I got some stuff from wholesales early in a March ... from we hear bout the first case in a Jamaica. Me a wait pon the pay this month to get some more things. I'm OK now, but not the best. If anything happen where we can't go outside, we get knock. Weh me have can only serve fi weeks ... suppose we get a proper lockdown?" she said.
Down in west Kingston, Debbie says she cannot afford the demands of the coronavirus.
"Me caa buy up nothing. Up to now I don't buy up anything ... me just cannot afford it. Me nuh have no sanitiser, no Lysol, no nothing. Me caa afford dem deh excitement deh. Me put alcohol in a spray bottle and a dat me a use," she said. "When me get a little change, I go to one and two shop and buy weh me can buy. There is no stocking up for me ... me cannot afford it."
Another resident who describe herself as a 'hustler' says she is financially burdened.
"Me caa stay inside. Me afi deh pon the road a try hustle fi mine ... time hard," she said. "Weh me fi use buy up food? My pickney inside a nyam like Hulk ... is a miracle if hungry nuh kill me. Pon a regular day me can barely come up with a $150 and buy a food, and now me fi buy food in a bulk? Me nuh have it ... hungry might kill we before corona, yes."