Frontline workers recognised at Grand Gala
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left), shakes the hand of Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, after presenting him with a citation for the recognition of healthcare workers, during the staging of the Independence Day Grand Gala, held on August 6, at the National Stadium, in St Andrew. Photo: JIS

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Frontline workers were on Saturday recognised for the vital role they played in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, during the staging of Jamaica’s 60th anniversary Grand Gala, held at the National Stadium, in St Andrew.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness presented citations to representatives of the workers, including Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson and Chief of Defence Staff, Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gorman.

Reading the citation, Dr Tufton said since March 2020, healthcare and other frontline workers in Jamaica have been at the forefront of the development and implementation of strategies and projects to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

He stated that the work of these public servants, including countless hours of planning and execution, resulted in the management of a crisis that has changed lives “as we know it”.

“Even as we balance lives and livelihoods and adjust to the new normal, our frontline workers continue to blaze a trail of service excellence to Jamaicans from all walks of life, risking their own lives to save the lives of others,” said Tufton.

“As Jamaica celebrates its 60th anniversary of Independence, we wholeheartedly salute our heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this our Diamond Jubilee Grand Gala, we laud your efforts to selflessly serve and pay homage to you in this segment, which highlights only a representation of the wide cross-section of frontline workers,” he added.

The Minister further noted that healthcare workers including doctors, nurses, porters, administrators, and auxiliary staff, were at the forefront providing care to patients at high risk to themselves and their families.

“Our teachers… went beyond the call of duty and even utilised their personal resources to ensure that their students were engaged and kept abreast with their studies,” the minister remarked.

He also highlighted the work of farmers, noting that while there were threats to food security, the group ensured the delivery of goods, while interfacing with consumers.

“Our security forces…while some sectors were in lockdown, they were in normal work mode. No work from home for them, enforcing lockdowns and other COVID-19 protocols,” Tufton said.

“On behalf of a grateful and proud nation, we thank you for your commitment, service and sacrifice. You have exemplified the greatness of our nation,” he concluded.

Approximately 30,000 spectators attended the National Stadium for the Grand Gala, which was the highlight of Jamaica’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The cultural showcase featured presentations in music, drama, song and dance, by costumed and uniformed groups alongside popular local artistes.

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