PM navigates issue over heartbroken Jamaican ship workers
Damion Mitchell, Integration Editor
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declined to say whether the government will be providing assistance for the 45 Jamaican ship workers who were denied landing in Kingston last week.
The Jamaicans, aboard the Marella Discovery 2, are now heading to Portugal.
On Thursday, they anchored in Kingston, refuelled and waited for docking clearance but left a day later after receiving no word from the Government.
The Jamaicans who are now facing an uncertain future when they disembark in Europe next week said they were aware of the restrictions on incoming passengers to Jamaica as part of the coronavirus containment but were willing to go into quarantine on home soil.
Now, with the vessel heading back to Europe they have reached out to the Government to help them when they reach the new epicentre of the coronavirus.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said he would not address the issue of the Jamaican ship workers.
“I won’t answer that question specifically other than to say that we discussed the issue of general support for persons who are stranded overseas,” Holness said.
He said the Government has concluded that Jamaicans overseas experiencing hardships will be assisted with funds that have been raised or will be raised through various efforts.
In the meantime, Holness said the government is now considering a protocol for what he called the controlled return of Jamaicans overseas.
The prime minister said the details will be released soon, however, he has made it clear that it will not be a wholesale allowance of people to return here.
The Prime Minister also said under the regime, Jamaicans returning home will have to go into state quarantine facilities and will be asked to help to pay the bills for the hotels where they will be held.
“The hotels are not going to be free, neither will the meals and the other provisions,” he said.
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