The St. James Municipal Corporation has activated its Emergency Operating Centre in the wake of the increasing numbers of Corona Virus (COVID-19) cases being detected on the island.
In an interview, Mayor of Montego Bay and Chairman of the St. James Municipal Corporation, Councillor Homer Davis said the committee held its first meeting last Saturday March 14, 2020 which was attended by representatives of all state agencies and stakeholders in the parish.
Mayor Davis said the meeting was a very productive one which outlined the steps being taken by all agencies in the educating and protection of employees and other citizens regarding Corona Virus, COVID-19.
He said “over the weekend our Emergency Operating Centre Committee met and from all indications we had a very useful and fruitful meeting We had in attendance, members of the St. James Municipal Corporation, the Police, the Ministry of Health and other key stakeholders and we went through every aspect of preparation, mitigation, pre and post CORVID-19 care…indeed we looked at all the areas in which we may have challenges as a result of this virus and we outlined a plan of action going forward”.
The Committee which is chaired by Mayor Davis includes:
Councillor Anthony Murray
Councillor Dwight Crawford
Councillor David Brown
Councillor Michael Troupe
Councillor Arthur Lynch
Councillor Kerry Thomas       
Councillor Uvel Graham
Councillor Sylvan Reid
Officers of the STJMC:                    Mr. Gerald Lee- Chief Executive Officer,
                                                            Mr. Trevion Manning- Director of Planning
                                                Mrs. Pamela March - Commercial Services Manager,
                                                            Ms. Pauline Lecky - Inspector of Poor
                                                            Ms. Jacqueline Wilson -Matron,
                                                Tamoy Sinclair -Parish Coordinator, Disaster Preparedness
                                    Ms. Andreka Nelson- Assistant Parish Coordinator, Disaster Preparedness
                        Ms. Natanee Barrett- Legal Officer
            Mr. Marlon Tingling- Community Programme Coordinator
AGENCIES:             Ms. Sherika Lewis, St. James Health Department/Ministry of Health
                                    Mr. Dolphin Doeman, Superintendent, Jamaica Fire Brigade
                                    Mr. Craig Francis- National Works Agency
                                    Mr. Garnet Edmondson, National Solid Waste Management Authority
                                    Mr. Randy Hayle, Social Development Commission
                                    Mr. Donald Martin, Port Handlers Limited
                                    Mrs. Denise Fogoe, Port Handlers Limited
                                    Mr. Otis Wheatle, Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS)
                                    Mr. Peter Hall, MBJ Airport Limited
                                    Mr. Roy Murray, Jamaica Combined Cadet Force
                                    Mr. Fitzgerald Roach, National Water Commission
                                    Mr. Williams, Mobay Metro
                                    Superintendent Vernon Ellis, Jamaica Constabulary Force
Mayor Davis said the St. James Infirmary, the parish’s registered poor and other vulnerable groups have been singled out for special attention as preparation is ramped up to face CORVID-19.
“We went through a raft a measures which will be taken…and already some have been implemented based on instructions from the Minister of Local Government (Hon. Desmond McKenzie) in relation to restrictions on visits to the Infirmities, the discontinuation of admission to these facilities for the next 30 days and we have implemented  strict protocols in relation to persons who work at the Infirmary…their attendance, dress code and strict adherence to the Standard Operating Procedure”, Mayor Davis said.
He said the Municipality has so far installed hand-wash basins at the Charles Gordon Market and will be moving quickly to install additional basins across the city for use by members of the public and persons attending the Corporation’s Union Street offices will be subjected to some level of sanitizing before entering the building.
Mayor Davis said “the St. James Municipal Corporation is fully aware of the measures to be taken to protect the citizens and we will continue to take instructions from the Ministry of Health and Wellness and in other aspects from the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development. We will be transmitting no other information except what has been disseminated by those Ministries. All Councillors of the Corporation are on board in this matter. And all hands are on deck”
He said the Emergency committee will be meeting twice weekly and will continue to focus on all areas to ensure that the citizens are aware of the do’s and don’ts in relation to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Mayor Davis is urging residents of St. James who may be going through some amount of anxiety in the wake of the rising numbers of Corona Virus (COVID-19) cases on the island, to remain calm.
While admitting that the anxiety among residents is not unexpected, Mayor Davis said the St. James Municipal Corporation has been and will continue to play its part in ensuring that as a parish, a city and as a country “we ride out the storm”.
He said “we have seen anxiety and some level of fear among our citizens. We have seen it being played out by way of persons flooding the supermarkets and other places in search of groceries and sanitization items. I must say to the people of St. James that I do not think we should be overly fearful about supplies running out and that is based on information coming from our leading distributors who have indicated that we have enough supplies of all items for the next three months or more”.