(Jamaica Observer)Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Andrew Holness believes he made the right decision to announce a date for the general election amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Quizzed on his handling of the outbreak of the virus on the island and his move to call an election at this time, Holness stated that the country has been doing well.
“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 noted that it could take over a year for a suitable vaccine to be developed. “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.”
In defending his decision to head to the polls on September 3, Holness said Jamaica is not the only country that has decided to go ahead with an election.
He also cited that Jamaica has one of the lowest mortality rate per capita and pointed out that by definition, with a pandemic there will be spikes.
“We must go on with our society. We must go on with our economy.
However, People’s National Party President Dr Peter Phillips lashed the Government for what he said was a disregard for the scientific advice of health personnel.
He said that during the Emancipation and Independence day period, it was recommended that restrictions should be tightened but this was ignored.
“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.
Up to yesterday, the countries COVID-19 tally stood at 2,011, after 141 new cases over a 24 hour period.
The two party leaders are facing off in tonight’s leadership debate, which is the final in a series of three debates in the lead up to the September 3 general election.
The debate is being moderated by Dervan Malcolm, while the questioners include Dionne Jackson Miller of the RJR/ Gleaner Communication Group and Press Association President George Davis.
Questions are being fielded from social media by Marjorie Gordon of the Nationwide News Network.