JM | Jan 20, 2022

‘We have to strike a balance’: Holness maintains stance on new COVID-19 strategy

Juanique Tennant

Juanique Tennant / Our Today

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, emphasises a point while making a statement during the sitting of the House of Representatives on November 16, 2021. (Photo: JIS)

Despite receiving immense backlash for the Government’s new strategy of personal responsibility to the COVID-19 pandemic fight, Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Wednesday (January 19) maintained that the new direction was the right one for the country.

Speaking at the opening of the new Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in downtown Kingston, Holness stated: “There is an argument circulating that there are no measures in place to address the current wave.”

Despite this, he noted that he was sanitised upon entry, that physical distancing was being practised by those in attendance, that the gathering limit of 50 persons was being observed and that all in attendance were wearing masks.

Given this, he relayed: “So, to be clear, there are rules and regulations and requirements under the DRMA (Disaster Risk Management Act) which have been set many months ago, which the nation was advised of and it is these rules that we will continue to observe.”

Notwithstanding this, however, Holness said he was well aware that there are individuals who would like to see tighter rules, and noted: “We have to reach a reasonable balance. Tighter rules could mean less work, it could mean less economic activity, less income and that could also mean more social problems.”

As a result, the prime minister emphasised that the management of the pandemic “is now down to us. In this our 60th year of independence, what does independence mean?… It means freedom to act responsibly.”

While reinforcing the point that the Government has a duty to protect its citizens, even from themselves, Holness argued that “in a democracy which we claim, freedom comes with an inescapable responsibility.

“This nation must develop and learn to use their freedom responsibly and as the leader of the nation at this time regardless of pushback, objections, I must stand firm… .”


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