News from the OPM

Minister Audley Shaw Assumes Responsibility for Agriculture and Fisheries
Government Announces Extension of No-Movement Days
EXEMPTED CATEGORIES UNDER THE DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT ACT
Jamaica Has Lost A Great Pioneer of Music: the Unforgettable Lee “Scratch” Perry – PM Holness
Amendments to DRMA to Accommodate Places of Worship and Other Persons
Entire Council of Ministers Fully Vaccinated – PM Holness
PM Holness Revises DRMA Measures for Two Weeks

PM Holness Revises DRMA Measures for Two Weeks

July, 28 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced revised Covid-19 protocols under the Disaster Risk Management Act. The recrafted measures will expire in two weeks. The tightened measures begin today, July 27, 2021, and end August 10, 2021; this as the country faces what the Prime Minister has described as potentially the early stages of the third wave of Covid-19. Speaking at a press conference last evening (July 26, 2021) to update the nation, the Prime Minister said, “Our focus in crafting these measures will be on trying to control the spread sufficiently to allow us to reopen schools, to facilitate structured face-to-face learning in September. This is imperative for the government and indeed for all the parents and children who have had a very difficult time during this pandemic.” The adjusted measures are as follows. Curfew Hours From Monday to Saturday, the curfew hours will be from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. the following morning. On Sundays and Public Holidays, the curfew hours will be from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. the following morning. Therefore, the curfew will commence at 3 p.m. on; Emancipation Day, Sunday, August 1, Monday, August 2 (observed holiday), Friday, August 6, and Sunday, August 8. Closing…
Prime Minister and Partnership Council Reaffirm Commitment to National Social Partnership

Prime Minister and Partnership Council Reaffirm Commitment to National Social Partnership

July, 19 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the National Partnership Council has operated seamlessly across successive administrations and has proved invaluable to nation building. He was speaking as Chairman at a meeting of the Council, which comprises leaders from the Government, parliamentary opposition, private sector, civil society, church, academia, trade unions and youth advocates, on July 15, 2021. The meeting explored the role of social partnership in Jamaica, in the context of the preparation of a new agreement to govern the Council's activities over the next four years. The Prime Minister outlined some of the areas of focus the Government was considering for the new agreement. He noted, however, that input from the other partners was vital and asked that based on the areas of focus, feedback be submitted within 30 days. Discussions also focused on the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Holness explained the difficult and delicate balance required to preserve lives and livelihoods and the considerations around the Government’s recent recrafting of the measures to facilitate controlled re-opening of the entertainment sector. There was consensus on the need to maintain a high degree of caution and vigilance, particularly in the context of the emergence of more transmissible variants and our relatively low rate of vaccinations. The Partnership Council expressed support for the Government’s call for all Jamaicans to be proactive and take personal responsibility by adhering to the protocols established under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA), that have been proven to be effective in controlling the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, there was a frank and open discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of the Council's contribution over the life of the last agreement with suggestions being put forward for its improvement. There was consensus on the partnership process serving Jamaica well, particularly by fostering dialogue, cooperation, and collaboration…
Government Transforming Lives Through Social Housing; 700 Jamaicans to be Positively Impacted

Government Transforming Lives Through Social Housing; 700 Jamaicans to be Positively Impacted

July, 18 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the purpose of the social housing programme is to transform lives across Jamaica. In that regard, the Prime Minister said, “It is the goal of this Government, to give every single Jamaican the opportunity to experience the feeling of satisfaction, safety and security that comes with owning their own home and being able to pass it on to their children.” He underscored that the programme should be viewed as “transformational housing”, as the Government continues to enable more Jamaicans to own their own homes and to live in dignity. 380 housing units are expected to be completed this year which could see some 700 Jamaicans being positively impacted through the social housing programme. In the meantime, the Prime Minister noted that there are thousands of Jamaicans living in sub-standard conditions. He says the Government will continue to provide more housing solutions for those persons. “The Government is aware of your circumstance; we know the situation and we are doing our best to get to you, and to assist,” said Prime Minister Holness. The Prime Minister was speaking recently at the handing over ceremony of a social housing project in Quarry, Salt Spring in St. James, where he noted that the provision of social housing is a positive thrust by the Government that should bring about a spirit of hope among citizens and dramatically improve the lives of recipients.
Greater Focus Must Be Placed on Rural Communities

Greater Focus Must Be Placed on Rural Communities

July, 18 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government has placed greater focus on rural communities. Speaking on Friday (July 16, 2021) at the opening of the rehabilitated Gaul Road in St. Mary, the Prime Minister said the Government has a rural development strategy that is integral to the development of the economy. He noted that a great part of the strategy, is road improvement. The Prime Minister pointed out that there are many roads in rural Jamaica that are being studied and rehabilitation works are being scheduled. Prime Minister Holness says the Government is sensitive to the issues that citizens, especially rural citizens, are faced with. In this regard, he says the  upgrade of critical infrastructure in rural communities across the island is being effected swiftly and efficiently. “We should not ignore the fact that things are happening and the Government is allocating the necessary funds and is making that effort, with all the things that we have to do to improve the lives of all the citizens who live in rural communities,” said Prime Minister Holness. The Prime Minister says the programme will continue as the Government maintains the delicate and important balance of lives and livelihood. Noting that hurricane and overall climate resilience are critical elements in Jamaica’s development plan, Prime Minister Holness says resources have also been allocated into maintaining gullies and other such infrastructure.
The Government is Transforming Jamaica Through Investments in National Security – PM Holness

The Government is Transforming Jamaica Through Investments in National Security – PM Holness

July, 15 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has asserted that the Government does not only depend on exceptional powers such as States of Public Emergency to curb crime. He says the Government has also made long term investments in infrastructure and human development. Speaking yesterday, July 14, 2021, at the official opening of the new Mount Salem Police Station in Mount Salem St. James, Prime Minister Holness noted that these investments will yield long-term results in reducing the murder rate. The Prime Minister said: “The objective of the Government remains to bring our homicide rate from 47 murders per 100,000 people to the goal of just below the regional average of 15 murders per 100,000 people. My own belief is that, had we have the State of Public Emergency we would have been moving much faster down the ladder. So, we have to use the tools available to us and we have to be strategic with the resources we have.” Importantly, Prime Minister Holness said integral to our crime-fighting strategies is the focus on criminal gangs and the cultural entrenchment of using violence to resolve conflicts. Prime Minister Holness said: “It is possible to decrease the murder rate by strengthening our security forces, making the investment in the security infrastructure and at the same time changing the culture and mentality of our people to work in peace and respect of each other.” In the meantime, the Prime Minister is confident that the investments in national security as well as the strategies the Government has put in place, will transform Jamaica from a place of 47 per 100,000 homicides, to below the regional average. “I believe we are doing as best as we can, to try and ensure that the security…
Prime Minister Holness Appointed to Her Majesty’s Privy Council

Prime Minister Holness Appointed to Her Majesty’s Privy Council

July, 08 2021
Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness has been appointed a member of the Privy Council. His Excellency the Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen issued a statement announcing the appointment today. “Her Majesty The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve that the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, ON, PC, MP, Prime Minister of Jamaica, be appointed a member of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.” The accepted form of address of the Prime Minister as of today, will be: “The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, ON, PC, MP, Prime Minister.” The appointment became effective on May 26, 2021. Prime Minister Holness is to attend a meeting of the Privy Council, at the first convenient opportunity, in order to take the oath or affirm in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen.
PM Holness Encourages Jamaicans to Be More Sensitive About the Hurricane Season

PM Holness Encourages Jamaicans to Be More Sensitive About the Hurricane Season

July, 07 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the estimates for flood damage as a result of the passage of Tropical Storm Elsa over the weekend has amounted to $803 million. Speaking in Parliament yesterday (Tuesday, July 6, 2021), Prime Minister Holness said the report tendered by the National Works Agency (NWA) is preliminary as the Agency continues damage assessment to determine the cost for permanent repairs. He pointed out that the assessment to date is divided into two categories; cost to clean and clear roadways and drains of silt and debris and secondly, cost to make roads accessible. Over the course of two weeks, the Ministry of Local Government and the relevant agencies will undertake cleaning and clearing of roadways and drainage systems. In that regard the Prime Minister stated, that assessments are being done to determine the damage to major road networks across the country. So far, over 25 road networks between the parishes of St. Ann, St. Mary, Portland, St. Thomas and St. Catherine have been greatly affected. Therefore, Prime Minister Holness urged all members of parliament to move quickly in assisting the NWA in completing the first phase of the disaster mitigation programme which the Government has allocated $100…
No Local Government Election This Year – PM Holness

No Local Government Election This Year – PM Holness

June, 30 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared that no local Government election will be held this year. The Prime Minister said there has been much speculation about whether the recrafting of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) measures was strategically done to facilitate the holding of local polls. However, the Prime Minister has said, this is simply not so. He emphasized that the election will not be held until the Government is satisfied the country’s vaccination efforts are sufficiently on track. The Prime Minister also noted that with the structured reopening of the entertainment and events sector, other sectors should take note that the Government is actively strategizing on the ways in which relief can be brought to each. Prime Minister Holness further stated that the Government has been focused on meeting the needs of each and every sector of society, by carefully analyzing and crafting measures that will not negatively affect livelihoods. He noted that when livelihoods are affected, people are more willing to break the rules. In the meantime, the Prime Minister indicated that he knows many Jamaicans have suffered as a result of the restrictions under the DRMA. He said as more and more persons become vaccinated, the country should see a return to some…
Entertainment Sector to Re-open in a Structured Way

Entertainment Sector to Re-open in a Structured Way

June, 25 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness today announced a structured re-opening of the entertainment industry bringing much relief to the sector which has been severely impacted by the measures imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19. The Government has contemplated two categories of events: large and small. Effective July 1, 2021, small events may resume with a maximum of 100 attendees including organizers and support personnel. These small events are categorized as either indoor our outdoor; each having gathering limits. Outdoor concerts, parties, round robins, festivals, community events, corporate mixers, handing-over or groundbreaking ceremonies, and other events of this nature. The Prime Minister says for indoor events, a cap on the number of persons who can attend a small event is determined as 60 percent of useable square footage. For public sector events, such as handing over, or groundbreaking, a maximum of 50 persons must be maintained. On the other hand, large events will go through an approval process.  Organizers of the large events must first send an application to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport. The Ministry will review the application to see that it meets the requirements and once satisfied, it will forward the application to the ODPEM…