News from the OPM

Tightening of COVID-19 Protocols is To Our Own Benefit – PM Holness
Government Rapidly Expanding the Process and System of Home Ownership – PM Holness
Government to Complete 114 Houses Under the National Social Housing Programme
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
Tightening of COVID-19 Protocols is To Our Own Benefit – PM Holness

Tightening of COVID-19 Protocols is To Our Own Benefit – PM Holness

February, 15 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the tightening of some COVID-19 protocols at this time is critical to lessening the infection rate. The Prime Minister noted that there was much debate and reluctance in amending the curfew hours to an earlier time as well as decreasing the gathering limit from 15 to 10 persons. The islandwide curfew hours now run from 8:00PM to 5:00AM and expires on February 24. The Prime Minister said the Government recognizes the impact that the new measures pose to the economy, however keeping the infection rate low, is crucial to keeping the positivity rate down. “To reduce the spread, we are giving you instructions, guidance under the disaster risk management act for your own benefit; how you behave to reduce the risk and the spread,”  said Prime Minister Holness. In that regard, the Prime Minister noted that the extended curfew hours is temporary. He assured the nation that the Government takes every decision seriously. Prime Minister Holness also reiterated the importance of personal responsibility; wearing a mask in public, sanitizing of hands and maintaining social distance and maintaining the gathering limit of 10 persons. In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness sought to assuage fears about the…
Government Rapidly Expanding the Process and System of Home Ownership – PM Holness

Government Rapidly Expanding the Process and System of Home Ownership – PM Holness

February, 15 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government is working assiduously to expand the system and process of land and home ownership in Jamaica. Speaking recently (February 11) at the handing over ceremony of National Housing Trust (NHT) service lots in Hellshire,  St. Catherine, the Prime Minister said: “What the Government is doing, is expanding the process, the system of home ownership of land ownership and we are doing it in many ways. (We are) doing it in titling by going through and regularizing persons who have occupied lands but have no titles, we are doing it through the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ); regularizing communities that were informally settled. We are doing it again by the Housing Agency; in bringing to the market affordable and low income housing solutions and we are doing it by the NHT in providing support for the financial system for home ownership.” The Government has been working to provide housing solutions at affordable rates for every group of citizen. In that regard, the Prime Minister said the Government wants persons to own land through the legal process. As such efforts are being made to provide the means for individuals to do so. “On social equity,…
Government to Complete 114 Houses Under the National Social Housing Programme

Government to Complete 114 Houses Under the National Social Housing Programme

February, 15 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government expects to complete another 114 projects under the National Social Housing Programme for the 2020/2021 financial year. The estimated value of the project is $1.17 billion. Speaking recently (February 11), at the ceremony to hand over a two-bedroom dwelling to a mother of two, Vanesia Reid, in St. Andrew Southern, Prime Minister Holness noted that as of January 31, 2021, a total of 15 housing units have been completed under the programme. Prime Minister Holness said: “A total of 290 applications were received from Members of Parliament across 58 constituencies. Of the 290 applications received, 213 have been approved by the New Social Housing Project Oversight Committee (POC). Currently, there are 28 active construction projects and they range from between five percent completion to 99 percent completion.” The Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation has oversight of Social Housing Programme which aims to improve the housing conditions of the country’s poor and indigent population, through the Housing, Opportunity, Production, and Employment (HOPE) Programme. Prime Minister Holness noted that even though the programme is designed to bring hope to citizens who are unable to afford solutions, he hopes this intervention will help to…
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…