News from the OPM

Government to Build 70,000 Housing Units in the Next Five Years
Amber HEART Academy the First  Step in Creating a Coding Industry – PM Holness
Government Examining Options to Address Loss of Teaching Time Due to Covid-19 – PM Holness
Jamaica Has Lost A True Icon and Businessman of the Highest Order with the Passing of the Hon. Gordon “Butch” Stewart
Government Reiterates that Curfew Hours are to be Strictly Observed by All
UK Travel Ban Extended until January 31
Government to Build 70,000 Housing Units in the Next Five Years

Government to Build 70,000 Housing Units in the Next Five Years

January, 15 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government expects to build 70,000 inexpensive housing solutions in the next five years to tackle the issue of illegal settlements. The Prime Minister noted that the Government is working to bring the cost per housing unit to eight million dollars or less to accommodate low-income earners. Speaking today (January 15, 2021) at the ceremony to hand over titles, through the Ministry of Housing and Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Prime Minister Holness underscored the Government’s commitment to rapidly increasing the availability of inexpensive housing solutions to promote planned housing schemes and decrease illegal settlement. “The strategy behind it is to accelerate the pace of housing development so that if someone reaches the point where they need to have a house, there is the formal housing market where we have the houses and mortgages available. This will enable you to buy a house in a structured community with sewage, proper roads, water, electricity, and internet already in place. You can pay your mortgage for that over time instead of going to capture somebody's land, building on it, and then afterward, you are in a legal battle to get the land,” said Prime Minister Holness.…
Amber HEART Academy the First  Step in Creating a Coding Industry – PM Holness

Amber HEART Academy the First Step in Creating a Coding Industry – PM Holness

January, 14 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness today (January 14) officially launched Jamaica’s first ever Coding Academy through a Amber HEART/NSTA  Trust partnership. The Coding Academy will significantly improve the employability of citizens, particularly the nation’s youth. Students will undergo an intensive year-long residency training at the Stony Hill HEART/NSTA campus with an internship component, where they will work with seasoned developers on software development solutions. Upon successful completion of the programme, the graduates will be guaranteed jobs within the Amber Group. The Prime Minister said “the Amber HEART/NSTA Trust Coding Academy is a groundbreaking first step towards achieving our vision of positioning Jamaica as a technology and innovation hub.” The Prime Minister noted that the partnership on coding comes at a critical time as the world battles COVID-19 which has forced everyone to utilize technology. In that regard, the Prime Minister asserts that with this Academy, the country is on its mark to participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “Jamaica is putting in place the pieces to create the digital society. So today, I am very happy that we are at this point and we will have 100 Coders trained,” said Prime Minister Holness. The Amber group is involved in the development…
Government Examining Options to Address Loss of Teaching Time Due to Covid-19 – PM Holness

Government Examining Options to Address Loss of Teaching Time Due to Covid-19 – PM Holness

January, 11 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government of Jamaica is moving with alacrity to ensure Jamaican students can participate in the digital age with devices that will give them access to online classes. Through his Positive Jamaica Foundation, Prime Minister Holness last week (Wednesday, January 6, 2021), distributed 600 devices, including tablets and laptops, to PEP and CSEC students registered in schools within his West Central St. Andrew constituency. “Even after the pandemic, devices such as these will be critical for your learning, so it is not just for the pandemic. We are using this as an opportunity to ensure that every Jamaican child can participate in the digital age. I consider this to be the book and pencil of learning. Every Jamaican child must have a device, whether it is a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone. This is the way of the future”, said Prime Minister Holness. In that regard, the Prime Minister underscored that using the devices for schoolwork, seeking information, and as productive tools to solve problems, will give Jamaican students the generational leap necessary to achieve digital inclusivity. The Prime Minister added that remedial classes will be an important part of the education strategy to…
Jamaica Has Lost A True Icon and Businessman of the Highest Order with the Passing of the Hon. Gordon “Butch” Stewart

Jamaica Has Lost A True Icon and Businessman of the Highest Order with the Passing of the Hon. Gordon “Butch” Stewart

January, 05 2021
It is with deep sadness that I learnt of the passing of one of Jamaica’s most brilliant, innovative and transformative business minds, the Honourable Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart OJ, CD, Hon. LLD. Butch Stewart is a Jamaican icon and businessman of the highest order. He was a nationalist who truly and deeply loved his country. He is known for his strong business acumen and legendary philanthropy. Indeed, he was a towering figure in Jamaica. He created the globally recognised Sandals brand, impacted local and regional tourism, contributed significantly to brand Jamaica through his involvement in tourism, his leadership of Air Jamaica, and his contribution to business and the economy. Butch was a man way ahead of his time, he had an eye for details and his ability to market and deliver world class service in any endeavor was tremendously distinctive. He was an extraordinary human being with an unwavering commitment to the social good. He has left his unmistakeable mark across the region and the world and we shall miss him dearly. I send heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and the thousands of employees whose lives he no doubt personally impacted. This loss is not just Jamaica’s, it is the…
Government Reiterates that Curfew Hours are to be Strictly Observed by All

Government Reiterates that Curfew Hours are to be Strictly Observed by All

December, 31 2020
The Government is reiterating that the Curfew Orders over the holiday season, in particular on December 31, 2020, and January 1, 2021, will be strictly enforced. On December 31, 2020, the curfew will begin at 10:00 PM and end at 5:00 AM on New Year’s Day (January 1, 2021). On New Year’s Day, the curfew will begin at 7:00 PM and end at 5:00 AM on January 2, 2020. The Office of the Prime Minister takes the opportunity to remind the religious community that the agreement reached with the Jamaica Council of Churches, is for church services to be held within regular hours in observance of the curfew. However, during the curfew, pastors, technical leaders who deal with streaming, and musicians, are allowed special passes to be on the road after curfew hours to facilitate the live streaming of watch night services. Congregants are therefore reminded to remain home during the curfew hours and view watch night services on the platforms made available by their respective churches.
UK Travel Ban Extended until January 31

UK Travel Ban Extended until January 31

December, 31 2020
KINGSTON, Jamaica. Thursday, December 31, 2020: The Government of Jamaica has extended the travel ban on flights coming in country from the UK until Sunday, January 31, 2021. Additionally, all non-Jamaicans who have been in the UK within the last 14 days prior to intended arrival date in Jamaica, who may seek to enter the island through another country will not be permitted to enter Jamaica. Jamaicans who have been in the UK within the 14 days prior to intended arrival date, who seek to enter the island through another country will be tested and placed in State quarantine for a minimum of 48 hours until the results are returned. If negative, they will be allowed to transfer to home quarantine to complete the 14 day mandatory quarantine period. If positive, they will be transferred to isolation at a location that is approved by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton noted that “The Ministry of Health & Wellness is monitoring the situation in the UK, including the outcomes of virological investigations, while preparing for an expected surge in local cases of COVID-19. These factors will influence the Ministry’s recommendation regarding the lifting of the travel…
Government Reiterates that Curfew Hours are to be Strictly Observed by All

Government Reiterates that Curfew Hours are to be Strictly Observed by All

December, 24 2020
The Government is reiterating that the curfew orders over the holiday season, in particular on December 31, 2020, and January 1, 2021, will be strictly enforced. On December 31, 2020, the curfew will begin at 10 pm and end at 5 am on New Year’s Day (January 1, 2021). On New Year’s Day, the curfew will begin at 7 pm and end at 5 am on January 2, 2020. The Office of the Prime Minister takes the opportunity to remind the religious community that the agreement reached with the Jamaica Council of Churches, is for church services to be held within regular hours in observance of the curfew. However, during the curfew, pastors, technical leaders who deal with streaming, and musicians, are allowed special passes to be on the road after curfew hours to facilitate the live streaming of watch night services. Congregants are therefore reminded to remain home during the curfew hours and view watch night services on the platforms made available by their respective churches.
COVID-19 Measures Tightened for Westmoreland

COVID-19 Measures Tightened for Westmoreland

December, 16 2020
The Government has implemented tighter COVID-19 measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act for the parish of Westmoreland amid increases in the number of active cases there. Speaking yesterday (December 15, 2020) in Parliament, Prime Minister Andrew Holness stated that recently, the parish has experienced increased cases coupled with increased hospitalizations and deaths. This, he noted, is a cause for grave concern as the hospitals are almost at full capacity. “To date, Madam Speaker, the parish has recorded 117 active cases, with 76 new cases last week. These cases are spread over 80% of the communities in the parish. Approximately 1 out of 3 persons tested were positive for COVID-19. This is over three times the national positivity rate for that week,” said Prime Minister Holness. The following measures are therefore being implemented in the entire parish of Westmoreland: A tighter curfew commencing at 7 pm nightly and ending at 5 am the following morning effective from 7 pm today December 16 and ending at 5 am on December 31, 2020; The general gathering limit for public places is being reduced from 15 to 10 persons; For burials, the maximum number of persons remains at 15; and Grand Market will…
Government Tables New NIDS and Registration Act

Government Tables New NIDS and Registration Act

December, 16 2020
The Government yesterday (Tuesday, December 15) tabled the new National Identification System and Registration Act 2020  in Parliament. Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the new Bill will improve the government’s ability to serve citizens. Notwithstanding, a major feature of the Bill is that it will be voluntary. “This Bill seeks to improve the efficiency in establishing and verifying identity thereby improving business processes and service delivery and enhancing the government’s ability to implement a coherent e-government strategy and to support national security,” said Prime Minister Holness. Prime Minister Holness said, the revised policy framework now provides for; A voluntary national identification system that will provide secure, reliable  and convenient means of identification for citizens and persons ordinarily resident in Jamaica. The Administrative structure and powers and functions that are necessary for the establishment and maintenance of a national identification system. A robust and coherent legislative framework to treat with the collection processing, storage, retention usage and protection of personal data. The protocols, procedures and systems for identity verification, monitoring and compliance. An independent oversight body. Following on his commitment to the Houses of Parliament, Prime Minister Holness said the legislation will be referred to a select committee of the House…