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Holness stands firm on decision to call elections despite COVID-19 upsurge

Published:Saturday | August 29, 2020 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott- Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Prime Minister and leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Andrew Holness is standing by his decision to call the general elections despite the dramatic upsurge in COVID-19 cases.

Deaths from COVID-19 reached 20 tonight, with the death of a 47-year-old man from the Corporate Area; while cases have grown by 102, moving the total up to 2,113 positive cases, 1,131 of which are active.  

Pressed by journalist, Dionne Jackson Miller  about the his decision and subsequent conduct on the campaign trail during the leadership debates, which ended a short while ago,  Holness said the country is still cited among the best in the region for its management of the disease so far and its low COVID-19 mortality rate. 

“We would never do anything to place the lives of people at risk. The pandemic will only end when there is a safe and widely distributed vaccine,” he responded.

Holness said it might take more than a year for scientists to develop a vaccine. 

“This would be well outside the constitutional limit to call an election. Jamaica is still considered to be one of the countries that has managed the pandemic really well,” Holness said, as he stood by his decision to call the elections for September 3.

 Holness noted that Jamaica is not the only  country that has held elections during the pandemic. 

“We must go on with our society. We must go on with our economy.”

However, rebutting Holness, People's National Party president and Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips, accused the prime minister of disregarding the advice of health officials.

“The consequences have been devastating on the people of Jamaica. Yes, there will be a pandemic, but there is no need to ignore proper advice. There is no need to ignore common sense and there is ever need to protect the people of the country,” said Phillips.

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