News from the OPM

Schools to Reopen for Students Sitting Exit Examinations
Government Makes Further Adjustments to Some COVID-19 Protocols
PM Holness Calls on Larger Economies to Contribute More to Building Resilience in the Fight Against Climate Change
Government Extends DRM Orders and Adjusts Weekend Curfew Restrictions
PM Holness Calls on Developed Countries Not Hoard Vaccines
Government Committed to Developing Entertainment
Schools to Reopen for Students Sitting Exit Examinations

Schools to Reopen for Students Sitting Exit Examinations

May, 05 2021
The Government has approved the resumption of face-to-face classes for students at the primary and secondary level sitting exit examinations. Speaking in Parliament yesterday (May 4, 2021), Prime Minister Andrew Holness noted that due to the pandemic, a significant number of the current exam cohort would have lost approximately one year of in-person instruction and guidance. The Prime Minister noted that though the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information has received an extension  for the submission of school based assessments, face-to-face engagement is needed to help students to adequately prepare for exams. The Prime Minister said, “The Cabinet has approved the resumption of face-to-face instruction as of Monday, May 10, 2021, for those students sitting the PEP 6 Ability Test, and those in Grades 11-13  sitting the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), City & Guilds and the National Vocational Qualification – Jamaica (NVQ-J).” According to Prime Minister Holness, a whole day/rotational approach commencing May 10, 2021, will be used to facilitate the inclusion of face-to-face engagement for students. He says the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information will coordinate with parents and local transport providers to ensure the safe movement of students to and…
Government Makes Further Adjustments to Some COVID-19 Protocols

Government Makes Further Adjustments to Some COVID-19 Protocols

May, 04 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced minor changes to some measures, including the weekend curfew times, while extending the majority of the measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act. Speaking in Parliament today (May 4, 2021), the Prime Minister noted that the measures will be in place for the next four weeks to expire on June 2, 2021. He also explained the adjustments. Prime Minister Holness: “The data clearly shows that tighter measures implemented in the past weeks from February 2021 to now have been very successful in slowing the spread of the virus and while our hospitalizations are now below our capacity, we are not yet out of the danger zone. The Ministry of Health recommends that we maintain the measures for at least three incubation cycles, meaning for at least the next six weeks. So, I am asking the nation to bear with us for another six weeks.” The measures are as follows. Curfew Hours The curfew hours for weekdays, Monday to Friday, will remain at 8:00 pm to 5:00 am ending on June 3, 2021, at 5:00 am. The curfew hours for the weekend will be modified for the next four weekends. The curfew will now begin…
PM Holness Calls on Larger Economies to Contribute More to Building Resilience in the Fight Against Climate Change

PM Holness Calls on Larger Economies to Contribute More to Building Resilience in the Fight Against Climate Change

April, 22 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says an accessible and equitable climate finance mechanism is required for the world to build resilience in the fight against climate change. Speaking on Earth Day this morning (April 22, 2021), at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate Change, Prime Minister Holness acknowledged the commitment of world leaders to 100 billion dollars per year to support climate action in developing countries. However, he says, it is critical that this commitment is not only honoured, but that the ambition is increased, and major emitters contribute more to its financing. At the same time, Prime Minister Holness said: “While increasing the quantum of financing is necessary, it will not be sufficient to address the needs of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) unless it is accessible and flexible enough to target support for our vulnerabilities. While some progress has been made, significant hurdles remain in accessing climate finance; and the pace of implementation does not reflect the urgency of the climate crisis”. In that regard, the Prime Minister outlined specific actions that need to be taken: 1) The establishment of a global disaster fund to help SIDS recover and manage disaster risk. 2) The development of innovative risk-informed financing for…
Government Extends DRM Orders and Adjusts Weekend Curfew Restrictions

Government Extends DRM Orders and Adjusts Weekend Curfew Restrictions

April, 15 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced a three-week extension to the measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act. The orders will now expire on May 4, 2021. Speaking on Tuesday (April 13) in Parliament, Prime Minister Holness noted that the infection prevention and control measures that the Government has implemented have significantly contributed to a decline in the estimated reproductive rate in the spread of COVID-19. In that regard, the Prime Minister added, “The data clearly shows that the tighter measures implemented three weeks ago, have been successful in slowing down the spread of the virus. However, our test positivity rate and hospitalizations remain too high. As a result, the measures implemented three weeks ago will be extended.” The measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act are as follows. Curfew · The weekend curfew is modified to begin on Saturday at 4:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm ending at 5:00 am the next day. · The nightly curfew from Monday to Friday of 8:00 pm to 5:00 am the next day has been extended until 5:00 am May 5, 2021. · Business places will no longer close at noon on a Friday. Worship Services The maximum number of persons who may be physically…
PM Holness Calls on Developed Countries Not Hoard Vaccines

PM Holness Calls on Developed Countries Not Hoard Vaccines

April, 15 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has appealed to countries with stocks of vaccines that they will not utilize before the expiry date, to make them available to other countries like Jamaica, that will rapidly use them to inoculate the population. “To those countries that have the supplies that they may not be able to utilize before the expiration date because of their take-up rate, make them available by loaning them to us, and we will place our orders and return to you. We all must move towards recovery on an even keel. It cannot be that some people are fully vaccinated and ready to recover, and others are suffering and struggling and can’t participate in recovery,” said Prime Minister Holness. Prime Minister also noted that the Government has made the requisite budgetary allocations to purchase vaccines. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Holness highlighted that Jamaica has shown the capacity to mobilize mass vaccination campaigns over a short period as seen with the recent vaccination blitz. He noted that on Monday, April 12, over 25,000 persons received the first dose of the vaccine, bringing the total number of persons to over 100,000 persons. The vaccination blitz was facilitated through a donation from the African…
Government Committed to Developing Entertainment

Government Committed to Developing Entertainment

April, 15 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government plans to invest in the entertainment industry. Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday (April 13, 2021), the Prime Minister also encouraged major stakeholders in the industry to join the Government in developing strategies for the delivery of their product; this as the industry is expected to attract many as the country transitions out of the pandemic. Prime Minister Holness also noted that part of the capital investment that the Government will have to make is in entertainment spaces, venues and locations which he acknowledges are insufficient. “Presently, we have not designated spaces for entertainment, so you might have a dancehall right beside a church or a clinic within residential areas, and we disturb our neighbours. What the pandemic has revealed is that we need to reconfigure our society. We need to sit with the stakeholders and plan to build a new Jamaica, a Jamaica in which entertainment can be accommodated, and this is a conversation that we need to have without anybody saying that we are fighting dancehall,” said Prime Minister Holness. The Prime Minister says he is acutely aware of the hurt and suffering faced by many in the entertainment industry due to…
Government Extends DRM Orders and Adjusts Weekend Curfew Restrictions

Government Extends DRM Orders and Adjusts Weekend Curfew Restrictions

April, 14 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced a three-week extension to the measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act. The orders will now expire on May 4, 2021. Speaking yesterday (April 13) in Parliament, Prime Minister Holness noted that the infection prevention and control measures that the Government has implemented have significantly contributed to a decline in the estimated reproductive rate in the spread of COVID-19. In that regard, the Prime Minister added, “The data clearly shows that the tighter measures implemented three weeks ago, have been successful in slowing down the spread of the virus. However, our test positivity rate and hospitalizations remain too high. As a result, the measures implemented three weeks ago will be extended.” The measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act are as follows. Curfew · The weekend curfew is modified to begin on Saturday at 4:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm ending at 5:00 am the next day. · The nightly curfew from Monday to Friday of 8:00 pm to 5:00 am the next day has been extended until 5:00 am May 5, 2021. · Business places will no longer close at noon on a Friday. Worship Services The maximum number of persons who may be physically present…
Prime Minister Holness Expresses Sadness at the Passing of Joseph Mahfood

Prime Minister Holness Expresses Sadness at the Passing of Joseph Mahfood

April, 09 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has expressed deep sadness at the passing of one of Jamaica’s leading and most notable businessmen, Joseph Mahfood, a founding member of the Wisynco Group. According to the Prime Minister, “Joe was no doubt a standout Jamaican who has made a sterling contribution to our country both as a businessman and a philanthropist.” Joseph Mahfood  was the embodiment of Wisynco’s mission, “To improve the lives of our people”; his work helped to shape not only the company but also the lives of countless employees. Prime Minister Holness noted that with Joe’s guidance and  first-class business acumen from which the company benefitted, thanks to his over fifty years of invaluable service, Wisynco grew to become a formidable entity. He said, “Joe was an exceptional businessman but more importantly, he believed in people and in his country.” Joseph Mahfood was a man who cared deeply for people and had great love and respect for the natural environment. Thanks to his efforts, Food for the Poor underwent expansion and increased its capacity to render help to Jamaica’s most vulnerable. The Prime Minister says “ Joe was a truly great Jamaican, his rich legacy will live on. On behalf of the Government of Jamaica,…
Jamaica Ready to Provide Support to St. Vincent and the Grenadines – Prime Minister Holness

Jamaica Ready to Provide Support to St. Vincent and the Grenadines – Prime Minister Holness

April, 08 2021
In light of the increased threatening activity of the La Soufriere volcano, Prime Minister Andrew Holness today, spoke with Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, to express solidarity with the government and people of St Vincent and the Grenadines during this challenging time and to assure him of Jamaica’s readiness to provide assistance. Prime Minister Gonsalves outlined the disaster response arrangements in place through the efforts of the Vincentian government with the support of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Regional Security System as well as further arrangements to be implemented with the support of regional and international partners as well as the private sector. Both Prime Ministers expressed confidence in the arrangements thus far, even as they identified potential challenges and discussed areas within which Jamaica could assist.  Prime Minister Holness committed to placing Jamaica’s Disaster Assistance Relief Team (DART) at the ready, should they need to be deployed. The two leaders further agreed to remain in touch on evolving needs. Within the framework of CDEMA, Jamaica is the focal point for disasters in the Northern Caribbean, however the DART has provided emergency support in the Eastern Caribbean.