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Jamaica
Thursday, June 17, 2021

Golding slams Gov’t’s multi-million-dollar vaccine advertising spend

In lambasting Prime Minister Andrew Holness for a “critical errors of mismanagement”, leading to a COVID-19 spike, Opposition Chief, Mark Golding, has questioned the Authorities’s rationale for spending thousands and thousands of {dollars} on a vaccine advertising marketing campaign.

As an alternative, Golding has recommended that the cash could possibly be used to buy extra vaccines for the island’s inhabitants.

Jamaica is ready to obtain between 146,400 and 249,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines later this month via the COVAX Facility.

In response to media reviews, roughly $422 million has been budgeted for a advertising marketing campaign to be spearheaded by an organization on behalf of the Ministry of Well being and Wellness to counter vaccine resistance on the island.

However in a Fb submit on Wednesday, Golding slammed the transfer.

“How can we set a 16 per cent vaccination goal when the world has stated the one method again to normalcy is as much as 70 per cent of the inhabitants being vaccinated? How can we justify a close to $500-million advertising marketing campaign as a substitute of shopping for extra vaccines?” he questioned.

In persevering with, he quizzed: “How can Jamaicans, many who haven’t labored in a yr, proceed with out assist? And not using a response from the Authorities to help so many who’re in want?”

Golding, who was elected Individuals’s Nationwide Celebration (PNP) President final November, ripped into Holness’ administration of the COVID-19 pandemic on the island, claiming he “politicised” COVID by calling early basic elections for September 3 of final yr.

“In August, PM Andrew Holness politicised COVID by calling an early election throughout the post-‘Emancipendence’ spike. The ensuing onset of group unfold was introduced on the day after the election.

“He (Holness) failed to guard Jamaica. As an alternative, he put the JLP’s pursuits forward of the nation’s pursuits,” Golding’s Fb submit acknowledged.

It added: “Then in December, he (Holness) once more left our nation unprotected by permitting many hundreds of Jamaicans to return to JA (Jamaica) for Christmas with no requirement for them to provide a present unfavourable PCR check earlier than being allowed to fly in.

“Solely vacationers have been required to try this. Solely predictably, the returning Jamaicans mingled with Jamaican residents, many ignored the quarantine guidelines, they usually left COVID behind in abundance once they returned to international.”

The PNP president opined that “these two critical errors of mismanagement have led to the present unfolding well being disaster, the place UWI Hospital is now full to capability, KPH and Spanish City (hospitals) are at 90 per cent capability, and we’re having days with 400 constructive circumstances and a positivity fee of over 20 per cent.”

In relation to Holness’ response to the current spike in COVID-19 circumstances, which incorporates new curfew hours of 8 pm to five am and decreasing public gatherings from 15 to 10 individuals, Golding was additionally equally crucial.

“The sooner curfew hurts enterprise and the economic system, and will even be counter-productive in relation to gatherings,” he identified.

The Opposition chief lamented that “individuals wish to see motion”, pointing to the pace of vaccination efforts within the japanese Caribbean.

In opposition to that background, he questioned whether or not the Authorities can be provided a present of vaccines from India, just like the items obtained by Barbados and Dominica.

“Barbados and Dominica now have a vaccine to immunise a considerable portion of their populations, by accepting a present from India of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Was this additionally provided to us by India? Has Minister Tufton ignored their provide? The individuals deserve solutions,” Golding added.

Regardless of the vary of criticisms, Golding stated the Opposition stays “prepared and prepared to interact constructively with the Authorities to attempt to establish a simpler response to the present disaster.”

As much as the time of the submit on Wednesday, Golding stated the Shadow Cupboard was to start an emergency assembly by which it might seek the advice of with medical professionals.

The consultations have been being held in relation to Holness’ response to the newest spikes in coronavirus circumstances, climaxing with a excessive of 403 constructive circumstances on Monday.

The end result of the Opposition consultations was not disclosed as much as Thursday morning.

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