JIS News

A ban on cigarette smoking will shortly be introduced within the entire designated area of Emancipation Square in Spanish Town, St. Catherine.
The Square will be the first Smokefree Square in the Caribbean, when a declaration is officially unveiled in March. The initiative is a joint project of the Smoke Free Action Coalition in Spanish Town and the St. Catherine Parish Council.
At a launching ceremony on Monday (February 15) in Emancipation Square, His Worship the Mayor of Spanish Town, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, said that the St. Catherine Parish Council will be embarking on a public education campaign to inform the public of the initiative and to raise awareness of the dangers of cigarette smoking.
Additionally, he said, signs will be erected around the Square, informing the public that it is a no smoking zone.
Mayor Wheatley also called on the police and citizens of Spanish Town to support the initiative, by helping to enforce the regulation.
“It is a regulation that I believe has long standing repercussion, because you are not just regulating traffic flow, you are not just prohibiting smoking in a particular area, but you are saving lives by cutting down on second-hand smoking,” he said.
He also explained that heavy-duty motor vehicles, buses and trucks will be prohibited from entering the Square.
“The St. Catherine Parish Council, along with the St. Catherine Police will be enforcing that regulation as part of the effort to support this initiative,” he added.
Secretary Manager of the St. Catherine Parish Council, Christopher Powell, said that an amendment will have to be made to the Public Health regulations, in order for the Square to become a smoke free zone.
He explained that a resolution will be passed by the Council to declare the Square a smoke free zone, after which a copy will be forwarded to the Department of Local Government to be gazetted.
“Only when it is finalised and gazetted and published, will we be able to enforce this initiative,” he noted.
The event was attended by Don Baker, Political Representative at the United States Embassy in Jamaica, who read a letter from the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg.
The letter stated that the introduction of the 2002 New York City Smoke Free Act, which makes smoking illegal in restaurants, bars and other work places, and the provision of resources to help smokers quit, have “drastically” reduced the number of New Yorkers who smoke.
“We are glad to have a partner in Spanish Town by designating Emancipation Square as a smoke free zone. This Town is doing so much to raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco use and discourage its residents from smoking. I am proud to help celebrate this wonderful occasion and send my best wishes for continued success,” Mr. Baker said.
Also attending the ceremony were Senior Lecturer in History, Department of History and Archaeology, James Robertson; Chief Executive Officer, South East Regional Health Authority, David Dobson; President of the Smoke Free Action Coalition, Rosemarie Greene and Director, Family Federation for World Peace, Denis Salmon.