Thu | Jul 16, 2020

Explain to us, Mr Holness

Published:Thursday | June 4, 2020 | 12:20 AM


Less than two weeks ago, Jamaicans were told of great plans to utilise GPS tracking and geofencing to ensure all returning residents would in fact be forced to home-quarantine for a period of 14 days.

We were further told that all returning residents would be tested for COVID-19 with the obvious benefits being that those infected would not be allowed to integrate with their community to create COVID clusters.

All this sounded great. Fast-forward not two years, or to a different country and time, but days later in the same island and we are now told that, as of June 15, the PM and Minister Edmund Bartlett have moved to a ‘fly the gate’ strategy where visitors will be allowed to walk through our airports and immediately integrate with others. As if to comfort us, we are told that visitors can choose to be tested. Seriously?

So after all of that public relations machinery around returning residents, we move to a post-June 15 environment of no tests, no quarantine, no GPS, no geofence, no contact tracing, just a ‘roll the dice’ policy to appease the tourism interests.

While we all wish to open the economy – of which tourism is a critical component – what about the caution being displayed over the past few months? Why has caution been thrown to the wind and us Jamaicans now left to fend for ourselves at much greater odds of catching the virus?

PM Holness owes all of Jamaica an explanation. His wishy-washy pandering or flip-flopping was never more evident than when making this announcement, and one cannot help but feel that he has yielded to big-business interests at the expense of the health crisis.

Whether Mr Holness has two reasons or thirty-one and a half million reasons, he must explain the thought process that led to this about-turn or run the risk of having the blood of every Jamaican who dies as a result of COVID-19 on his hands hereafter.