Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is encouraging Jamaicans who will be returning to work on June 1, to act responsibly and follow the protocols that have been implemented to lessen the possibility of their contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and minimise the spread of the virus.
“We know the measures that we have to take until we get a vaccine; let us follow those measures faithfully and let us be responsible. Together we will overcome this pandemic stronger and better,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Holness, who was speaking at a ceremony for the National Labour Day project at the St. William Grant Park in downtown Kingston, on May 25, said while companies were encouraged to have their employees work from home as a part of COVID-19 safeguards, it is important for businesses to return to full capacity.
At the same time, he cited several issues that must be addressed, including transportation and the care and supervision of children who are no longer in schools.
“How we get back to work in this period of pandemic is therefore of critical importance,” Mr. Holness emphasized.
Consequently, he reiterated that the COVID Economic Recovery Taskforce, which includes several multi-sector stakeholders, is working assiduously to establish the relevant protocols to be followed.
“They are all working on the right set of protocols that it is safe for everyone to go back to work… that those children who are still at home, because we’ve had to close our school that there would be enough provisions in terms of allowing for time to ensure that there is the proper care at home for those children; (and) protocols for taking the public transportation,” the Prime Minister said.
Additionally, he noted that there are provisions under the Flexible Work (Arrangements) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act that can also be implemented.
“We have to survive the pandemic; but we also have to survive the recession… two imperatives. We have to work and we have to work safely,” Mr. Holness said.
“So we are putting in place all the measures and with your cooperation, with your faithful keeping of the protocols, we will overcome this pandemic, we will recover our lost productivity and we will be a stronger society and economy,” the Prime Minister assured.
Regarding the theme for Labour Day – ‘Labour At Home, Clean Up, Fix Up, Plant Up’ – he reminded Jamaicans to prepare for the hurricane season and to start a backyard garden, as the pandemic has shown the need for greater food security.
The cleaning of the statues of the nation’s founding fathers — The Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante, and the Right Excellent Norman Manley, which are at located at the northern and southern ends of the park, constitutes this year’s national project.
The scope of works included: repairs to the base of the statues, repair of electrical conduits and landscaping.
Meanwhile, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, urged Jamaicans to protect the labour movement legacy to which both National Heroes contributed significantly.
“Never feel as if those who fought for us to ensure that our wages are guaranteed, did so for any personal gains,” he said.
Mayor of Kingston, Senator, Councillor Delroy William’s, for his part, extended gratitude to the Government for choosing the park as the site for the national project.