First Brissett residents mount sanitation station as part of efforts to keep Hanover COVID-19-free

Western News

First Brissett residents mount sanitation station as part of efforts to keep Hanover COVID-19-free

Observer West writer

Thursday, May 07, 2020

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LUCEA, Hanover — Hanover is enviably the only parish in the country that is yet to confirm a case of COVID-19, and as a means of keeping the parish that way, residents of First Brissett, a community on the outskirts of Lucea, have taken it upon themselves to be proactive in doing whatever they can to keep the virus at bay.

First Brissett is made up of more than 1,000 residents, several of whom are children, and as such, Kemoy Crooks and a friend of his, said that they were taking no chances, so the duo decided to put in place a sanitisation station at the entrance to the community.

“Just because we have young kids and we seh we want to keep the virus from them, we came up with this idea feh let everybody get their hands sanitised,” Crooks told the Jamaica Observer West.

The station, which became operational just over three weeks ago, serves other communities, and is voluntarily manned by three men and four women on a daily basis except on Sundays, when it is closed.

Under the initiative, persons entering the community are required to get their hands sanitised.

The project started with citizens utilising their personal funds, but it later received donations from passers-by, a bottle of hand sanitiser from the Hanover Municipal Corporation and face masks from Member of Parliament for Hanover Western Ian Hayles. The corporation also gave permission for them to establish a temporary station at the entrance to the community, following resistance from some residents, who claimed that such an initiative was impeding free movement.

Despite the lack of funds to sustain the project, Meliesha Nicholson, one of the volunteers who operate the station, made it clear that they are determined to keep the facility open.

“By the grace of God we will, because we are determined to continue. As long as COVID is not in Hanover, we promise to keep this tent here until the Municipal Corporation says it is time for us to pack,” Nicholson told the Observer West on Tuesday, as she pleaded for assistance to maintain the initiative.

“We would not mind if somebody could sponsor us something. We are looking for sponsors, but we don't want to go out there and beg because no one told us to do it [sanitisation initiative],” she stated.

“We are asking if anyone wants to give us [face] masks, gloves, [hand] sanitisers, hand soap, and alcohol, please, if you want to, we would appreciate them,” she pleaded.

Nicholson is also encouraging other communities to be proactive in keeping the parish free of the deadly disease, which, as at Tuesday, claimed the lives of nine persons and have infected 473 across the island.

“Join us. Just join us in this fight against it. We really don't want COVID here in Hanover. We want to keep it COVID-free. So, pitch in. It is not about money sometimes, it is about lives. So, if I can help my community and parish, you can,” Nicholson argued.

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