Deputy Prime Minister Dr Horace Chang has expressed satisfaction with the strong level of compliance shown by the nation for the first two of three weekends of lockdown announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness as a measure to slow spread of the coronavirus.
“The people of Jamaica deserve full commendation. They have been most compliant over the last two weekends. I think they have appreciated the message from the prime minister about the challenge we face with this spike and they have been showing good cooperation,” said Dr Chang, who is also the minister of national security. “…The word from the Ministry of Health [is that] we have begun to see some decline in the spike in Jamaica and I expect it to continue. We are seeing a very positive response.”
Dr Chang also commended the members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) whom he said have been doing an outstanding job in monitoring the lockdown.
Yesterday, Dr Chang, accompanied by Senator Mathew Samuda, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, visited business entities in Montego Bay participating in the E-commerce National Delivery Solution (ENDS) programme, which commenced in Montego Bay on Good Friday.
The ENDS pilot project, which was launched in Portmore, St Catherine, the previous weekend, became available to residents in Montego Bay in St James and Kingston on Good Friday.
The web-based ENDS is designed to enable the quick-service industry to continue operating during the hours of the COVID-19 curfew by facilitating online delivery orders only.
Dr Chang argued that in the medium term ENDS has kept the economy turning and “once there is increased economic activity there is less activity in crime and fewer people on the road where they won’t get caught up in illegitimate activities”.
He said: “The importance of keeping the economy going in the face of what is happening is very critical and it does contribute to public order and reduce criminal activity.”
“Of course, it puts some pressure on the police which have been mobilised to ensure compliance and public order during the weekend of the lockdown… and it means redeploying men. They pull men from the special units, put them on patrol. I know the same thing was replicated in Montego Bay but not in the same scale,” Dr Chang said.
He was hopeful that the ENDS programme will continue post-COVID.