As Jamaicans were still attempting to get over the sight of cruise ship tourists enjoying free movement on Monday (September 13), they on Tuesday evening suffered what felt like another slap in the face when video surfaced of senior government minister Floyd Green and Jamaica Labour Party councillor Andrew Bellamy partying with a large group of friends during the no-movement days ordered by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
In the video, which has wracked up tens of thousands of views and left Jamaicans on social media enraged, Green and Bellamy are seen taking part in the party at which the attendees toasted to shouts of “no-movement day” and “Shower Labourite”.
Our Today understands the event was a birthday party at a St Andrew hotel and took place on Tuesday.
While it was not clear whether all attendees were in fact guests at the hotel since at least Saturday, when the most recent three days of no movement got under way, the lack of mask wearing and what appeared to be a dismissive approach towards the importance of COVID-19 protocols did little to make the presence of Green and Bellamy more palatable.
Green, the member of parliament for St Elizabeth South Western, is also the minister of agriculture and a member of the Cabinet where the Holness administration’s ongoing decisions in the battle against COVID-19 take place.
The adherence to no-movement days, the wearing of masks and the curtailing of unnecessary gatherings have been among Holness’ unending appeals to Jamaicans as the nation struggles to cope with a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen a significant spike in the rate of infection and deaths associated with the virus.
Holness is expected to address the nation from Parliament today (September 15) as the most recently established restrictions come to an end, though there has been little to no reduction in the daily rate of infection.
Before outlining the country’s next move, the prime minister will have to weigh the current rate of spread against growing demands that he bring an end to no-movement days which have caused economic hardships for day-to-day earners and impacted businesses across the island.
Without a clear explanation from his agriculture minister, any decision by Holness to maintain restrictions on movement and gathering will be made more difficult to convey as a result of the optics around the controversial video of Green and Bellamy, even if they did not in fact breach any protocols.