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Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay, Councillor Michael Belnavis, getting ready to deliver groceries to some of the needy in sections of Ocho Rios.
Photo: Contributed

Story Highlights

  • With the nation grappling, like the rest of the world, with how to prevent an escalation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, some residents in St. Ann have lauded the Municipality for its action.
  • Marsha Lindo, a souvenir shop owner from Ocho Rios, tells JIS News that she has watched the St. Ann Municipal Corporation stepped up to the plate in the coronavirus fight.
  • “They  have made all the right moves and have made the parish a lot safer today,” she says.

With the nation grappling, like the rest of the world, with how to prevent an escalation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, some residents in St. Ann have lauded the Municipality for its action.

Marsha Lindo, a souvenir shop owner from Ocho Rios, tells JIS News that she has watched the St. Ann Municipal Corporation stepped up to the plate in the coronavirus fight.

“They  have made all the right moves and have made the parish a lot safer today,” she says.

Meanwhile, Gracie Green, a store owner from Runaway Bay, says that while there has been a lot for her to take the Municipality to task for in the past, she has nothing but high praises for how they have been handling the crisis.

“Great job all around. The handling of this COVID-19 matter has been nothing short of excellent,” she tells JIS News.

The towns of Ocho Rios and St. Ann’s Bay being sanitised.

 

From giving away nearly $3 million in food supplies to all of the 16 divisions in the parish, to doing an around the clock sanitisation of all the major public facilities and thoroughfare, the Corporation, under the leadership of its Chairman, Councillor Michael Belnavis, has been at the forefront in trying to contain the dreaded virus.

The towns of Ocho Rios and St. Ann’s Bay being sanitised.

 

Mr. Belnavis, who is also Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay, tells JIS News that “every system” within the Municipality has been given the greenlight to act, noting that “we have gotten rid of all the red tape,” where it’s now ‘Operation Contain’ and an “all-hands-on-deck approach.”

The Mayor says that the giving out of care packages was basically “to ease additional expenses that parents/caregivers may encounter with children staying at home, in light of the break from school ordered by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness.

“We are also very grateful for the support from the business community and other stakeholders in this time of need, showing all and sundry that a little cooperation can go a long way in confronting even a crisis of this magnitude,” Mr. Belnavis says.

“I was very much touched by the show of appreciation from the recipients, where everybody, even though realizing that this is just a mere drop in the bucket, was thankful for the gesture. This is by no means a one shot deal and will be revisited once we know the trajectory the virus is on,” he tells JIS News.

The towns of Ocho Rios and St. Ann’s Bay being sanitised.

 

Mr. Belnavis, in the meanwhile, says that just like policing, “it is very difficult to control or have a full handle on activities in a resort town.”

He argues that even by following the letter of all established guidelines, there is always the potential of “somebody slipping through.”

“This is why I say, without any fear of contradiction, that the members here at the Municipality, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, have been doing a great job here in St. Ann, keeping our towns safe and, so far, preventing any type of outbreak, even when faced with some difficult choices,” the Mayor says.

Mr. Belnavis adds that the closing of seaports and airports is never an easy thing to do, but the St. Ann Municipality lauds the Government for taking such a decision.

“Cruise shipping is a major mainstay and a massive income earner for the parish, but we know what we are up against in the fight against this virus and we didn’t hesitate one bit, despite the repercussions and potential fallout, to deny entry to ships,” he says.

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