Wed | Feb 19, 2020

'Zero tolerance for attacks on vector control workers' Holness warns

Published:Saturday | January 25, 2020 | 4:48 PM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness removes an old chair from the roadside along Olympiv Way in St Andrew, as he participates in Dengue Clean-up activities earlier today.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says there will be zero tolerance  going forward for persons who attack vector control workers, including those carrying out fogging in communities.

Holness was speaking this morning at the official launch of the National Dengue Clean-up activities, at the New Day Primary and Junior High School in Grants Pen, St Andrew.

The activities, which will continue tomorrow, include the cleaning of gullies and drains; debushing,  as well as the removal of old appliances and other bulky waste from several communities across Kingston and St Andrew and some other parishes, including Clarendon.

Although acknowledging that every citizen has the right to privacy, Holness said that when it comes to general public health, the authorities cannot be hindered or harmed when carrying out their duties.

He called for Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton and Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson, to use the full extent of the law to deal with those guilty of the practise.

"I say to the minister of health, the commissioner of police and the police officers who are here, we must enforce the laws very strongly on this matter. Some people, for their own private reasons, don't want anybody in their yard. When we send out people to do fogging and someone takes up a stone and hits that person, that can't work," Holness said, in reference to recent incidents of attack made on persons fogging.

Some residents have convinced themselves that the fogging does more harm, than good.

"The public's health is your business and your right cannot come over the public's right to good health and that must be made absolutely clear. You have no right to block, deter or harm a public officer doing the public's work," he said. 

The prime minister explained that there are existing laws that give public health officials the right to enter any premises, "and take action if you have breeding sites."

"The entire Jamaica must be aware that the government is serious about controlling dengue (and other viruses). Everyone of you has a responsibility to ensure that your little area and your community is free and clean of anything that could aid in the breeding I mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus," Holness said.

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