The National Partnership Council convened its first meeting of 2022 on Wednesday, March 9 and addressed, among other matters, the future of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) restrictions.
“The Disaster Risk Management Act has served us well and has allowed us to effectively manage our response to the crisis. Now we have to move into a new phase of the pandemic where our focus is on personal responsibility and economic recovery,” the Prime Minister stated.
The Partners supported the direction of the Government in evolving from the DRMA and asked that the appropriate steps be taken to continue to manage the pandemic while driving economic growth.
The meeting under the chairmanship of Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, was advised that Minister Floyd Green, Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister has been tasked with providing oversight of the Council.
Minister Green who addressed the meeting indicated that;
“A new structure that will achieve a more active and inclusive dialogue will be implemented this year, along with a new drive to ensure that the work of the Partnership is effectively communicated to the public.”
The National Partnership Council, first launched in 2011, is a social dialogue collaboration among the Government of Jamaica and the trade union movement, the Opposition, the private sector, and representatives from women, youth and academic groups, to address national economic and social issues.
The National Partnership Council meeting saw Ministers Daryl Vaz, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology and Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, speaking to the Ukraine/Russia War and its impact on Jamaica.
“I have been assured by Petrojam that we have good supply chains and that there should not be any major issues in relation to us being able to supply the country with fuel”, Minister Vaz updated the Council.
He said since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine intensified on February 24, steps have been taken to reconfirm Jamaica’s fuel supply and that it is being monitored on an hourly basis.
Minister Johnson-Smith updated the Council on the return of the Jamaican students from Ukraine as well as advisories issued to Jamaicans in the region. “We continue to liaise with the diaspora, we have had meetings of the Global Diaspora Council and the Youth Council over the last several weeks, and we have been assessing how we handle our consular processes for registration. That is how we make it easier for persons to register when they go overseas for study, work or pleasure”, said Minister Johnson-Smith in her presentation.
She noted that in anticipation of disasters and conflicts, there is the need to know where Jamaicans are.
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. The Honourable Christopher Tufton gave an update on the COVID 19 situation and the ministry”s continued efforts to build resilience in the health sector against any future crises.
Meanwhile, the Hon. Fayval Williams, Minister of Education and Youth, provided an update on the reopening of schools for face-to-face learning and indicated that, despite a few challenges at certain schools, the process generally was proceeding smoothly.
The Partnership is moving to sign a new Partnership Agreement to span the next 4 years.