News from the OPM

PM Holness Announces Nightly Islandwide Curfews for 7 Days
Prime Minister Holness Announces Stimulus Measures to the Housing Sector and Benefits to NHT Contributors
Corn Piece Community in Clarendon Under Quarantine; PM Holness Appeal to Residents to Follows Measures
Restricted Attendance and Participation for PM Holness’ Budget Presentation
Cabinet Approves a Raft of Measures including Work from Home for Non Essential Tasks
Jamaica Declared a Disaster Area as COVID-19 Cases Increase and Two Communities Quarantined
PM Holness Announces Nightly Islandwide Curfews for 7 Days

PM Holness Announces Nightly Islandwide Curfews for 7 Days

March, 31 2020
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced nightly islandwide curfews for a period of seven (7) days with effect from 8:00pm on April 1, 2020 to 6:00am on April 8, 2020. This is the latest in a series of measures announced by the Government to contain the novel coronavirus, COVID19, in Jamaica. The imposition of the curfew means, there will be restrictions on all movement of persons except for those in the medical services (doctors, nurses), persons in the Business Processing Outsourcing industry and other personnel who fall under the essential services, beyond the hours stipulated. Exempted persons will be required to produce valid identification. There will also be restrictions on public transportation. The Prime Minister made the announcement last night (Monday, March 30) during a virtual press conference at Jamaica House. Further to the announced amendment under the Disaster Risk Management Act, Prime Minister Holness informed that persons who arrived on the island between March 18-23, are now mandated to report to the Ministry of Health and Wellness via the website; http://jamcovid19.moh.gov.jm or by contacting 888-ONE-LOVE (663-5683) and to “faithfully disclose all information that is required” including their health status and whether they have been observing the guidelines for self-quarantine. Importantly, the Prime Minister…
Prime Minister Holness Announces Stimulus Measures to the Housing Sector and Benefits to NHT Contributors

Prime Minister Holness Announces Stimulus Measures to the Housing Sector and Benefits to NHT Contributors

March, 20 2020
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced a raft of measures aimed at stimulating the housing sector in the wake of the global pandemic COVID19 which is also affecting Jamaica. The announcements came yesterday (March 19) as the Prime Minister made his contribution to the 2020/2021 Budget Debate in Parliament. As part of the measures, Prime Minister Holness outlined specific measures that would be applied to National Housing Trust (NHT) contributors and borrowers to provide greater access to housing. Specifically, in its response to the impact of COVID-19, the NHT will implement measures to ensure the social protection of its mortgagors and contributors. Prime Minister Andrew Holness noted that: “These measures are to safeguard persons from losing their homes while improving their disposable income. The Government through the NHT put in place special relief for mortgagors who may lose their jobs as a result of COVID-19. Effective immediately, mortgagors who are laid off can apply for a moratorium on all loan payments of three months  in the first instance.” The Prime Minister said effective immediately, the NHT will provide a special one-off offer to contributors, the option to reschedule delinquent loans. The option will only be made available where the Trust…
Corn Piece Community in Clarendon Under Quarantine; PM Holness Appeal to Residents to Follows Measures

Corn Piece Community in Clarendon Under Quarantine; PM Holness Appeal to Residents to Follows Measures

March, 20 2020
Prime Minister Holness has announced that the Corn Piece community in the parish of Clarendon is now under quarantine for 14 days. The community was quarantined following the first reported death as a result of COVID-19 – a man who is believed to have travelled to Jamaica from New York on a JetBlue flight 2959 on March 12. The announcement was made last night (March 19) in Parliament following the Prime Minister’s 2020/2021 Budget presentation. It is believed that the deceased stayed in the community of Corn Piece during the period of his visit while ill and had contact with several persons within the community. According to Prime Minister Holness, the quarantine is to facilitate investigations that could lead to early detection of symptoms and prevention of transmission of the deadly COVID-19. “It is critical that they are monitored closely within the next fourteen (14) days. Early detection of symptoms will allow for early isolation and prevention of transmission of the virus. At this time, we are unsure of the number of persons in the community that have been so exposed, and require that the community and the family comply with the quarantine order to conduct the necessary contact tracing…
Restricted Attendance and Participation for PM Holness’ Budget Presentation

Restricted Attendance and Participation for PM Holness’ Budget Presentation

March, 17 2020
As the Government continues its proactive efforts to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 in Jamaica, keen consideration has been given to public events that should be curtailed or restricted.  Leading by example, the decision has been taken to limit participation at the Budget Presentation by the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, ON, MP, Prime Minister, which is scheduled for Thursday 19th March 2020 at 2:00 PM, at Gordon House. Accordingly, it has been decided that attendance at the Debate should be restricted to Members of the House of Representatives and essential personnel.  The Office of the Prime Minister therefore rescinds the invitation extended to all other officials, civil society leaders and members of the community in general. The Office of the Prime Minister expresses its regret that attendance at this presentation cannot be accommodated at this time, however it will be aired live and may be accessed via the following platforms: PBCJ TV Facebook:  Andrew Holness Facebook:  PBCJ Facebook: JIS Twitter: Andrew Holness We encourage you to continue to observe all precautionary measures and the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all.
Cabinet Approves a Raft of Measures including Work from Home for Non Essential Tasks

Cabinet Approves a Raft of Measures including Work from Home for Non Essential Tasks

March, 17 2020
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has moved decisively to act to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Jamaica. The move follows a meeting of Cabinet yesterday (March 16) which approved measures for the action. Updating the nation at a media briefing following the meeting of Cabinet, Prime Minister Holness announced that effective Wednesday, March 18 all non-essential work in both the public and private sectors should be done from home or remotely. “The Government will institute a new policy, required from seven days hence this time, that all non-essential work be done from home. So, we are going to be asking the Permanent Secretaries to examine all functions with their respective ministries departments and agencies, and where [tasks] are considered to be non-essential, that those be carried on at home or remotely. We are now formally requiring the private sector to do this,” said Prime Minister Holness. According to Prime Minister Holness, markets, supermarkets, corner shops, gas stations and pharmacies will remain open as they are considered essential for the continuation of life. However, he stressed that social distancing must be practiced. The opening hours for markets will be adjusted to 6am to 2pm daily. Prime Minister Holness implored market vendors…
Jamaica Declared a Disaster Area as COVID-19 Cases Increase and Two Communities Quarantined

Jamaica Declared a Disaster Area as COVID-19 Cases Increase and Two Communities Quarantined

March, 14 2020
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced the declaration of the entire island of Jamaica a Disaster Zone as a result of the effects of the global pandemic - the coronavirus (COVID-19). Already eight persons have tested positive for the virus in Jamaica. Prime Minister Holness announced the declaration last evening (March 13) under the powers provided to him under Section 26 (2) of the Disaster Risk Management Act. Additionally, two communities - seven miles and eight miles in Bull Bay St. Andrew - will be quarantined immediately. “It is given our legal framework this now gives the Government authority to take certain measures. One measure is the quarantine of a community which is the seven-and-eight Miles area of Bull Bay. What it means is that the JCF and JDF has been deployed. There will be restrictions on the movement of people in an out of the community”, said Prime Minister Holness. The quarantined communities will be given special attention by State Agencies with the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defense Force being deployed in the areas. Prime Minister Holness has asked that residents in the affected areas comply with the requests of health officials. “This is not being treated like…
Government Coordinates Efforts to Truck Water in Wake of COVID-19

Government Coordinates Efforts to Truck Water in Wake of COVID-19

March, 13 2020
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that the Government has increased the amount to be spent on the trucking of water in light of the increased cases of the global pandemic COVID-19 in Jamaica. Updating the nation on Government decisions to tackle the virus in Jamaica on Friday (March 13), Prime Minister Holness stated he has assigned Cabinet Ministers Hon. Daryl Vaz and Hon. Desmond McKenzie the responsibility of directly overseeing the trucking of water. “What we will have to do as a backup measure is to increase our spending, our organization, and logistics around trucking. So, what I have decided to do is to assign Minister Vaz and Minister McKenzie the responsibility to directly oversee the trucking of water. Now, the responsibilities will be divided into two,” said Prime Minister Holness. The Prime Minister further stated that both Ministers Vaz and Minister McKenzie are to develop plans and schedules to have those public bodies and communities receive water. In that regard, Prime Minister Holness stated that Minister Vaz will be responsible for the trucking of water in the utility areas, paying special attention to public bodies that require water but are being served by the National Water Commission (NWC). Minister…
Government Restricts Public Gatherings for the Next 14 Days in Wake of Second COVID-19 Case in Jamaica

Government Restricts Public Gatherings for the Next 14 Days in Wake of Second COVID-19 Case in Jamaica

March, 12 2020
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that there will be no permits issued for public gathering over the next fourteen (14) days. The Prime Minister stated that permits that have already been granted will be revoked in light of the second case of COVID-19 in Jamaica. Speaking at a media conference following an emergency Cabinet meeting last evening (March 11) Prime Minister Holness reiterated there is no need to panic. “Where the law requires the granting of a permit for any event or gathering, no permits will be issued within the next 14 days, so that means any event, any entertainment events, any gathering that requires the issuing of a permit, we will instruct the permitting authorities, police, and the municipal councils not to issue any permits. Permits that are already issued will be rescinded, revoked effectively. We are placing a ban on those forms of gatherings. However, there are still private companies, [and] business that are having meetings, weddings, funerals, and Sunday morning church service, we are asking the public [to exercise] responsibility,” said Prime Minister Holness. The Government is also actively reviewing travel restrictions for the United Kingdom as both cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) were imported by…
Schools Closed for 14 Days in Light COVID-19

Schools Closed for 14 Days in Light COVID-19

March, 12 2020
The Government has ordered the closure of all schools for 14 days effective tomorrow (March 13) in light of COVID-19 cases in Jamaica. The institutions affected are all early childhood institutions, primary and prep schools, secondary schools, community and teacher’s colleges. The announcement was made today (March 12) by Prime Minister Andrew Holness during a press briefing. “As of tomorrow, schools will be officially closed for 14 days. We will review this decision after ten days, but I believe we have given notice, tomorrow will have been a low turnout day anyway, as was today. Parents would now have Saturday and Sunday to make further preparations for their children and that would give us time as well to complete our preparations to ensure that those schools who would not have internet connectivity would receive materials to distribute to students so that they can continue their education at home,” said Prime Minister Holness. The matter will be reviewed in ten days. After this period, the Government will update the country. Importantly, Prime Minister Holness noted that the suspension of schools is a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Jamaica. Where possible subjects will be taught online. Meanwhile, the…