Right Steps & Poui Trees


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Jamaica’s #COVID19 Vaccination Plan: Two documents posted by the Government today

At a press briefing this morning (March 2, 2021), the Ministry of Health and Wellness representatives gave more details about Jamaica’s plans for vaccinating people against Covid-19. The first batch of vaccines is slated to arrive in the country this week and vaccination is planned to begin soon thereafter.

Left to right: Permanent Secretary Dunstan Bryan, Minister of State Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, Minister Christopher Tufton, Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacqueline Bissasor-McKenzie. Also participating Dr Melody Ennis, Director of Family Health Services (Pictured at top right Antoinette Aiken, providing sign language interpretation)

Now posted on the Ministry of Health & Wellness website are an updated copy of the National Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment & Vaccination Interim Plan Version 1.0 and the Interim Vaccination Logistics plan. I have posted copies of both documents below:

Also here is the link to the PBCJ recording of the press briefing.


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Disaster Risk Management Order (Amendment), 2021 – Dated January 25, 2021

The Gazette of the Disaster Risk Management (Enforcement Measures) (Amendment) Order, 2021 was posted online a week ago on the Office of the Prime Minister’s website. It has not yet been posted on the Ministry of Justice or Ministry of Health and Wellness websites. I have posted a copy below.


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INDECOM’s Special Report on Rio Cobre Juvenile Correctional Centre Raises Serious Concerns

The 3rd and 4th Quarterly Reports of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) were tabled in Parliament today. The former contains a Special Report on the Rio Cobre Juvenile Correctional Centre, one of the four juvenile correctional and remand centres operated by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). This report raises a number of serious concerns about the treatment and well-being of the children in State custody at that facility, as well as the effectiveness of oversight mechanisms that are supposed to protect those children.

I am posting copies of the two reports tonight. I will write more in days ahead.


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Disaster Risk Management Order, 2021 – Dated January 15, 2021 & Amendments 2, 3 & 4 to Order No. 16 of 2020

The Gazette of the first Disaster Risk Management Order for 2021 became available today:

This Gazette has been posted on the Office of the Prime Minister website. It is not yet on the Ministry of Justice website, but will probably be posted there shortly. I no longer regard the Ministry of Health & Wellness website as a reliable source of the Gazette, as the amendments aren’t posted there; it does, however, have a link to the OPM website.

Last Order & Amendments for 2020

Gazetted copies of the last three amendments for 2020 are posted below. I have also reposted Order No. 16 for ease of reference.

The first of the Covid-19 Disaster Risk Management Orders was broadcast in March 2020, ten months ago. I don’t know how long the government intends to continue issuing these orders. The question remains as to whether this is the way in which these measures should be issued on an ongoing basis, this long after the start of the pandemic, one of the issues being the lack of parliamentary oversight provided by this mechanism.


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It’s Still a New Year…

It’s not too late to wish you a happy new year, even though the year is already more than two weeks old. Even though it feels much older, given all that has happened so far…personally, nationally, globally. So, Happy New Year!

I watched the last setting moon for 2020 from my roof, on the morning of December 31, 2020…

I watched the New Year’s fireworks from my roof, as I have now for many years. There were far fewer of them this year, as the Covid-19 restrictions included a curfew from 10pm, a ban on parties and a limit to the size of gatherings…

I watched the first sunrise of 2021 later that morning…

This time last year there was no way I could have imagined how much life would have changed in the coming year, the changes brought by the pandemic being the most notable and unpredictable. Sitting here now, I am very aware that I haven’t a clue what things will be like a year from now. That is essentially the case each year, but the reality of 2020 has brought that into stark focus.

I remember a speech at the college graduation of one of my children years ago, in which the speaker said that the two most important qualities we could wish for our children in the times they were living in were adaptability and resilience. So true. And for us all. May the qualities of adaptabilty and resilience be yours in the coming year and the years beyond!


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New NIDS Bill Tabled in Parliament

Yesterday afternoon (December 15, 2020) the new National Identification System and Registration (NIDS) Bill was tabled in Parliament.

The Bill was read the first and second times and a Select Committee of the House was named; a Select Committee of the Senate is to be named and the two committees will sit jointly to review the new Bill. The MPs named yesterday were:

Delroy Chuck (Chairman), Fayval Williams, Marlene Malahoo Forte, Marsha Smith, Robert Morgan, Dwight Sibblies, Julian Robinson, Hugh Graham and Lothan Cousins.

In his statement about the new Bill to the House, PM Holness didn’t outline a timetable for its passage as he had done in September, but MP Chuck did mention it in his brief comments:

“It is a very important Bill and we certainly would like to use the next two months profitably and hopefully we can debate and have the Bill passed during this fiscal year.”

It is during this short period that the public will have the opportunity to read and analyse the Bill and to give feedback.

Below is the prepared text of the Prime Minister’s statement, which can be checked against the PBCJ recording to hear his additional comments and to hear the comments made by Leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding.

The proceedings regarding the new NIDS Bill start at approx 2:44:40 in the PBCJ recording.


Disaster Risk Management Order No. 16 – Dated December 1, 2020

The Gazette of the most recent Disaster Risk Management Order is now available. I have posted a copy below.

The gazetted order has been posted on the website of the Office of the Prime Minister, but not yet on the websites of the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health and Wellness.


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Disaster Risk Management Order No. 15 (Amendment) – Dated November 16, 2020

I am posting a copy of the Gazette with the most recent Disaster Risk Management Order – an amendment to Order No. 15.

One of the most significant changes in this amendment (which needs to be read in conjunction with Order No. 15 itself) is the extension of many of the measures to do with entry into Jamaica to April 15, 2021.

The predominant pattern to date has been to extend measures for a matter of weeks. In this instance the measures have been extended for 5 months, though it has been done in a way that allows for adjustments to the specific requirements to be made fairly easily. It does signal, however, the thinking of the governement that some such measures will be needed through at least the first quarter of next year.

The gazetted order has been posted on the Ministry of Justice website, but hasn’t yet been posted on the Office of the Prime Minister or Ministry of Health and Wellness websites at the time of publishing this blog post.

For convenience, I have re-posted Order No. 15 here.


350 Words or Less: Two Election Results

I didn’t think that the results of both of these elections would be announced on the same day, but they were. The delays in the counting of some votes in some states in the US election meant that the announcement of Joe Biden as the President-elect didn’t take place until today. Thank goodness that there won’t be a second Trump term.

Biden made a victory speech tonight and it was Vice President-elect Kamala Harris who introduced him, giving a victory speech herself. I must note that Harris, the first woman to be elected as US Vice President, is the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants.

Also announced today was the win for Mark Golding in the PNP presidential election. He garnered 1740 votes, while Lisa Hanna got 1444 votes, with 96% of the delegates voting. Golding, who is now the 6th President of the PNP, will become the Leader of the Opposition. He gave an acceptance speech at PNP headquarters shortly after the result was announced this afternoon.

Mark Golding delivering his speech today. At the table beside him in this photo are his wife Sandra and one of his daughters.

I had no vote in either election, but I think the better candidate won in both cases. How well they meet the challenges ahead of them remains to be seen.


Disaster Risk Management Order No. 15 – Dated November 1, 2020

On October 28, 2020, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced some changes to the Disaster Risk Management measures. The measures are detailed in the Gazette of Disaster Risk Management (Enforcement Measures) (No. 15) Order, 2020, a copy of which is posted below.

The gazetted Order has been posted on the Ministry of Health & Wellness website (scroll to the bottom of their page), but at the time of publishing this blog, it is not yet on the websites of the Ministry of Justice or the Office of the Prime Minister.