Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has praised church leaders across the island for their proactive approach in helping to mitigate the initial spread of COVID-19.
Addressing a church service at the Lucea Seventh Day Adventist Church in Hanover on August 8, Mr. Holness pointed out that places of worship had taken steps “above and beyond” what the Government had initially implemented to contain the virus.
This, he noted, was instrumental in reducing the numbers and ensuring that Jamaica was not counted amongst countries that would have had significant outbreaks.
“The Government never closed any church. In the Disaster Risk Management Act, we never prohibited churches from opening but the churches themselves decided that it was best to close their places of worship and to move worship online,” Mr. Holness outlined.
“I know that the Seventh Day Adventist Church was one of the first churches to have done this, and I felt very pleased because it was a sign of social responsibility. It was a sign that the church was exercising leadership and that was what we wanted to see. We want to see our national institutions and organizations exercise leadership,” he added.
The Prime Minister, however, indicated that COVID-19 cases have been on the increase in recent weeks, stating that persons have been congregating while ignoring the safety measures.
As such, Mr. Holness said the Government may have to put in place stricter regulations to curtail the increase in the number of cases.
“We are in a difficult time. We cannot allow this virus to get the better of us because we are not prepared to follow the rules set by authorities. It is the only way that we will be able to live our lives without being shut in our homes,” said Mr. Holness.
“You (the church’s congregation) are here following the rules, mostly and if you keep following the rules you will be able to come to church to fellowship and worship together. It is when we don’t follow the rules that our economy and your household economy will be affected,” he warned.
The Prime Minister later toured sections of the Lucea town, as well as several communities within Hanover. He also commissioned into service the $400 million Claremont to Jericho Water Supply System in the parish.