Candidate reaches out to Palmetto Meadows residents

Candidate reaches out to Palmetto Meadows residents

Senior staff reporter

Friday, August 21, 2020

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PEOPLE'S National Party candidate for Clarendon South Eastern Patricia Duncan Sutherland has intervened to soothe the woes of residents of Palmetto Meadows, one of the communities under quarantine at Sandy Bay in the parish.

Communities in Sandy Bay and others in St Thomas have been under quarantine since August 6 for 14 days initially, and who since Monday were subjected to a further 14-day lockdown due to an escalation in the cases of the coronavirus there.

On Thursday, with the continued increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in St Thomas, a decision was taken to put additional communities within the parish under quarantine.

In the first phase, residents of Palmetto were subjected to tighter restrictions of movement as against other communities in the area, based on the fact that the community had two exits which could be used by people hoping to escape the lockdown. As a result, two security posts were placed in the area and individuals were prevented from leaving, while people entering were only allowed to drop off items meant for residents at checkpoints.

Speaking with the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday morning ahead of nomination day activities in Clarendon South Eastern, Duncan Sutherland said, “I had a meeting with citizens' association representatives in that area and they are under stress, so I am in touch with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to try to get them to work out how we can relieve some of that pressure, because, as I told them in that meeting, this is not a political situation, so I don't want them to politicise that because those are not necessarily Comrades, [I] just want to make sure that they can get more access,” she told the Observer.

According to Duncan Sutherland, the residents were concerned that care packages from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to individuals in the area were being delivered every six days.

“This is a middle-class community. They want to be able to buy their food [as] there's nowhere for them to buy food in that area. How do you get food to them? They can't get ground provisions, they can't eat healthy; all they are getting is the care packages with tinned food and the rice. So it's rough and [for] some of them it's a mental strain. It's a rough situation,” Duncan Sutherland told the Observer.

On Monday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, speaking at an impromptu digital press briefing from Jamaica House, said the Administration has been monitoring social issues particularly as they relate to people being able to get medicine and supplies within the quarantined communities.

“In general, we have managed fairly well. A few issues have been raised with us having to do with market days and shopping days, and so forth. Those we will refine...and when we come with the new order we will be able to have measures that will be more satisfactory to the people who are under quarantine in those communities,” Holness told the briefing.

The present quarantine should come to an end on September 2 at 5:00 am, just in time for the residents to vote in the September 3 General Election. In the meantime, both parishes have also fallen under a different curfew regime from the rest of the island which is from 11:00 pm to 5:00 am, and will instead be under curfew from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am the following morning, and will be required to observe these quarantine hours until September 2.

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