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News In Brief - Travel advisories to West Africa 'could be dangerous'

Published:Saturday | October 11, 2014 | 10:00 AM
  • Travel advisories to West Africa 'could be dangerous'

Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Senator A.J. Nicholson has said the issuing of travel advisories against travel to West African countries hit by Ebola "could be dangerous".

Responding to questions from Opposition Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte as to whether Jamaica is considering the issuing of travel advisories, Nicholson said it would be sending a wrong message.

He noted that reggae artiste Luciano has recently cancelled a trip to East Africa and stressed that the Ebola outbreak is limited to a few countries in West Africa.

Nearly 4,000 people have died from Ebola in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Liberia. At least one case has turned up in the United States and one in Spain. The disease has killed 50 per cent of its victims.

"Everybody knows, don't go there," Nicholson said.

Malahoo Forte, however, urged the minister to recognise the position.

"We do not want to wait until it is on our doorstep, given the limited resources that we have to work with," Malahoo Forte said.

Nicholson then said he would consider the issue of travel advisories.

  • Clarendon puts plans in place for Ebola

Plans to combat Ebola in Clarendon should the virus reach Jamaican shores are far advanced.

According to the chief medical officer of the Clarendon Health Department, Dr Vitillius Reid-Holder, most of the signs and symptoms of Ebola are similar to that of Cholera, and the parish has had a 'Cholera plan' for some time now. She explained that the presentation and treatment of the Ebola is similar to Cholera.

However, she noted that Ebola is a new virus and it is being closely monitored and plans and strategies are being devised to combat it should the virus manifest itself in the island.

She told the Clarendon Parish Council at its monthly meeting on Thursday that training for health personnel to deal with the virus is being organised and is scheduled to begin shortly.

  • Kellier's appointment stirs debate in agri sector

The decision by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to appoint Derrick Kellier as the replacement for the late Roger Clarke as minister of agriculture and fisheries has not gone down well with stakeholders in the sector, as many feel the sector might be short-changed as a result of his other responsibilities.

The Office of the Prime Minister announced the addition of the agriculture portfolio to Minister Kellier's labour and social security responsibilities on Monday, with Luther Buchanan assigned as his deputy.

"We are quite conservative with this appointment, but we will give our full support as we seek to move the sector forward," said Everton Farquharson, president of the Jamaica Pineapple Growers' Association. "This is a challenging portfolio by itself, and with his responsibilities for labour and social security, the decision is of some concern. However, we hope that we will be able to develop a similar relationship to what we had with Roger Clarke."

Kellier has been acting as agriculture and fisheries minister since July when the now-deceased Roger Clarke left Jamaica to undergo surgery in the United States, but died while preparing to return to Jamaica.

Grethel Sessing, president of the All-Island Banana Growers' Association, welcomed the appointment of Kellier, but argued that the agriculture ministry needed the full attention of a minister.

  • Police station diaries to be computerised

National Security Minister Peter Bunting has revealed that the Government has embarked on an initiative to computerise police station diaries.

Bunting says the goal is to bring greater efficiency to the storage and care of police records.

The pilot project to modernise police station diaries will begin in Police Area Three, which covers the parishes of Manchester, St Elizabeth and Clarendon.

Bunting says he wants to see Jamaica move in a direction where the police provide information to the courts from electronic or e-diaries.

The national security minister was speaking yesterday at a ceremony where Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Derek Knight handed over leadership of Area Three to ACP Kevin Blake.

  • Clean-up activity in St Thomas

Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson will lead a team of health workers, volunteers and community members in a clean-up activity in St Thomas today.

This forms part of the Ministry of Health's strategies to reduce mosquito breeding sites and, therefore, stem the spread of the chikungunya and dengue viruses.

The central location for the day's activities will be the Rudolph Elder Park in Morant Bay. Other communities which will be involved include Copper Lane, Bath Gully, Bath, Cashew Bush and Chapel Hill in Port Morant, Brown's Lane, South Avenue and John's Town in Morant Bay, Black Smith Lane (business centre) in Seaforth, the Yallahs Town Centre and Trinityville community.