MONTEGO BAY, St James — Citing the need for the wheels of the economy to be kept turning, president of JACAL Brian Thelwell is embracing Prime Minister Andrew Holness' resolve not to impose any further lockdowns of the country at this time despite the daily spike in new COVID-19 cases.
“I support the no lock-down policy from the prime minister. We have seen where it (lockdown) almost totally devastated the whole economy of the country when it was locked down the last time. We have not recovered sufficiently to enter another lockdown, nor does the Government or companies have the wherewithal to provide the social security that is necessary for the country to survive. If you lock down and people can't go to work, you will not have the money to survive. So who is going to bear that cost? We are not in a position to do another financial package,” Thelwell argued.
“COVID isn't going anywhere so we have got to learn to live with it just like how we learned to live with the flu. We probably need to take a little bit more precaution and do the things that we need to do to ensure that we don't contract the virus.”
Another support of the prime minister's stance came from John Byles, chairman of the Resilient Corridors Commitee, who heaped praises on Holness for his management of the pandemic.
“The prime minister has done a wonderful job in protecting lives and livelihood in fighting this [novel coronavirus] pandemic. He has recently reiterated his position that there will be no more lockdowns, signalling to the country that we all have a responsibility to continue to follow health and safety guidelines...to get ourselves vaccinated... and to help our communities to follow best practises,” Byles argued.
He argued that each individual should accept responsibility for protection against the virus.
“We must also bear responsibility for our actions, knowing that we have a lot at stake and cannot squander the sacrifices we have made,” said Byles, who is also executive deputy chairman of Chukka Caribbean Adventures.
Speaking at last week's regular monthly meeting of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation (TMC), mayor of Falmouth and chairman of the TMC, Councillor C Junior Gager, made yet another appeal for individuals to get vaccinated in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease, to prevent another grounding of economic activities such as the cruise shipping.
Like other ports across the island, cruise shipping only returned to the Falmouth port late last year after been grounded since March 2020 after the novel coronavirus disease surfaced.
“The best way to deal with COVID-19 is for all of us to get fully vaccinated. We have to protect our economic activities such as cruise shipping and the hotel sector,” Gager told the Jamaica Observer.
During a recent press conference to announce a zone of special operation (ZOSO) in the Kingston Central Police Division, Prime Minister Andrew Holness reiterated that he will not return to the locking down of the country to curb the spread of COVID-19, even as the fourth wave of the respiratory disease is resulting the overwhelming of hospitals.
“I have been very clear in Parliament, very clear, absolutely gone overboard, to say we are not going back to lockdowns. So be calm!”
He stressed that Government's policy to put a brakes on COVID-19 is for the vaccination of the populace.
“ I have said what the strategy is. It is now in your hands. Go and take the vaccine, that is the strategy. We can't hold you down and put the needle in your hand. If you get sick, you take that responsibility,” Holness declared.
“There is an option. We have vaccines all over the place. We have sites all over the place. I don't hear one person complaining that you can't get the vaccine. Go and get vaccinated. Argument done!”
Thelwell argued that he fully supports the vaccination programme.
“I suport him [prime minister]and we need to take the necessary precautions. It is everybody's responsibility to assist in this business of curbing the transmisson of this disease. We need to convince the majority that the vaccine is good for them,” Thelwell stated.