Hanover groups team up to keep COVID-19 out
Several stakeholders in Hanover have united to form a group, Hanover Strong, to lead the charge in keeping the deadly coronavirus out of the western parish.
The group, which features representatives from the Church, community organisations, and non-governmental organisations; principals; and politicians, was launched on Tuesday at the Lucille Miller Auditorium in Lucea, the parish capital.
Hanover is the only parish in the island that has not recorded a case of the virulent coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease.
Katrin Casserly, who chairs the Hanover Charities, the largest charitable organisation in western Jamaica, and Western Hanover Member of Parliament Ian Hayles – two of the leading figures in the group – explained that $7 million will be spent on a four-pronged project to tackle the virus, which has registered more than 250 cases in the island.
At Tuesday’s launch, 50 care packages were handed out, with another 2,500 to be distributed across the parish in short order.
“Today, we are demonstrating how organisations and the Government can work together as a team to combat the outbreak of the coronavirus,” Casserly said in her address.
She pointed out that while Hanover Charities had already started assisting some needy persons with care packages, it still felt the need to be part of Hanover Strong so as to maximise the effect of a collaborative effort.
“If this (COVID-19 spread) continues longer, we (Hanover Charities) might have to put a stop to some of our other projects this year because the money might have to go to the fight against COVID-19 for food and care packages,” said Casserly, who believes that a united approach is best in the COVID-19 battle.
In explaining the approach, Hayles told The Gleaner that the group would focus mainly on handling food, sanitisation, mask distribution, and medication issues.
“We have come up with a committee made up of the Church, NGOs and several well-thinking Hanoverians who want to see this parish move forward,” said Hayles. “We will be doing a couple of things, number one is we will be doing [roughly] 2,500 food packages or more; number two is a sanitisation project of public transportation; third is the distribution of over 6,000 masks; and fourth, my next allocation from the Government is to ensure that we can acquire some basic medication and do a follow-up distribution.
“One of the things which is important is that I do not want this to seem like it is a political project because we are all in this fight together,” he emphasised.