Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, says the disembarkation of over 300 Jamaican ship workers from cruise vessels in Port Royal, Saturday (June 20), moved swiftly.
The workers disembarked under the Government of Jamaica controlled re-entry programme, after arrangements were finalised for their arrival on the island.
Senator Samuda led a multi-agency effort at the arrival site, to ensure that the process worked without any glitches.
‘We are on track, in terms of projected timeless,” he told JIS News, adding that the process is also “ahead of time.”
The agencies involved were the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Ministry of Health and Wellness, Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), and the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA).
“It is a herculean effort to ensure that the health protocols are adhered to, and we are happy with the team. We have gotten better…based on the improvement that is the system. We have invested in automation, which has added efficiency to the system,” the Minister said.
He pointed out that several lessons were learnt in the previous efforts to repatriate Jamaicans from overseas, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Issues to do with persons encountering discomfort at the quarantine locations are behind us, and both Flow and Digicel have offered data packages for individuals who will be geofenced,” the Minister said.
“We are getting much better at it, and we have to get better at it, because Jamaicans depend on travel, and these processes are part of the new normal,” he added.
The Jamaican ship workers returned on the Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas, and the Disney Wonder.
All persons re-entering the island have to be processed using the established protocols for screening, testing and quarantining, as would have obtained for all previous ship arrivals, including mandatory State quarantine until their test results are available.