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JLP candidates instructed to have COVID-19 protocol officer in place

Published:Sunday | August 9, 2020 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas /Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) greets supporters while on tour in Anchovy, St James today. The JLP has instructed candidates to have COVID-19 protocol officers in place to ensure health guidelines are being observed.

The Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) 63 candidates for the upcoming general election will each be expected to have a protocol officer in place to maintain COVID-19 prevention rules during their campaigning activities leading up to election day.

JLP Chairman Robert Montague and General Secretary Dr Horace Chang made the announcement at a press briefing that followed today's meeting of the party's central executive at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James, to unveil the JLP's 63 candidates for the election.

A date for the election has not yet been announced by the prime minister.

The country's positive COVID-19 cases have now surpassed 1,000 infections, with 120 new cases last week pushing the total to 1,003. There were also three deaths, which have increased the number of fatalities to 13.

"The central executive, led by the party leader [Prime Minister Andrew Holness], encouraged each candidate in their campaign team to appoint a COVID-19 protocol officer. That person's job is to ensure that the protocols are observed at all aspects of the campaign," said Montague.

"Whether you are doing house-to-house visits; whether it is a church visit, or whether you are doing a walk [in a community], whatever activity is being done, it must be done according to the protocols established by the Ministry of Health," Montague added.

Chang noted that the guidelines by the Ministry of Health will be printed and distributed to candidates and their teams.

"There is a full protocol being put out by the Ministry of Health, and we will publish that very soon. We are going to do a booklet on it and circulate it to our candidates," said Chang.

"COVID-19 has been here for some time, and this election will be run under COVID-19. But protocols will be clearly articulated so that the constituencies can maintain them," the general secretary added.

"We know it will be a challenge, as the tradition of Jamaican politics is that it is highly emotional and highly engaging, but we are encouraging all candidates to have their organisations prepared to deal with COVID-19."

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