Teach constituents about COVID-19, MoBay’s mayor tells councillors
Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis is urging the councillors of the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC) to educate their constituents on the facts regarding COVID-19, in light of reports of discrimination against persons in the parish who have contracted the virus.
In making the appeal during Thursday’s monthly meeting of the StJMC, Davis, who is also chairman of the corporation, referenced a report he had received of a taxi operator who has been shunned in his community, despite having been declared free of COVID-19.
“Yesterday I got a report from my disaster preparedness officer that someone, who was cured of the virus and was allowed to go back to his community, is having a serious challenge in being accepted. That person is reaching out to the municipality because he is the breadwinner of his family and he operates a public passenger vehicle, but nobody even wants to go near his vehicle,” said Davis.
“Those are some of the challenges that persons who have had the virus will encounter out there, even though they are certified as cured. But we in our leadership roles, in our own divisions, can educate our constituents as it relates to these persons,” stated Davis.
The mayor’s appeal brings into fresh focus the concerns which have been raised in recent times about the potential stigmatisation and emotional turmoil faced by COVID-19 patients or persons whose relatives have had the virus. To date, Jamaica has recorded 517 infections and nine deaths. St James has recorded eight infections and one death.
In some instances, persons have reportedly given wrong addresses to health officials for fear that their communities would be discriminated against. Additionally, the Nurses Association of Jamaica president, Carmen Johnson, revealed last month that some nurses have not yet accepted that they may have to care for COVID-19 patients at some point.
Davis also announced that approximately 10,000 masks are to be sent to Montego Bay from the Chinese city of Yiwu, with which Montego Bay has had sister-city relations since 2006.
“Recently, I received a communication from Yiwu, one of our sister cities in China, and they have decided to make a contribution of some 10,000 masks to the city of Montego Bay. We have started the process already, and we should be receiving those masks in short order, so as soon as we receive them, we will make it known and decide on the best way for distribution,” said Davis.