WASHINGTON, DC – Jamaica and other Caribbean countries are very aware and sensitive to global shocks, according to Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
Speaking in an interview on CNN with anchor Richard Quest on Thursday, May 14, Holness said it is this awareness that informs the resilience of Jamaica and which will cause it to recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Prime Minister pointed out that the country’s recovery rate is dependent on how well his government can balance the health of citizens with the needs of the economy.
“I keep telling Jamaican people that I have two priorities,” Holness said. “Priority number one is their health and safety, and priority number two is their livelihood. I don’t see a trade-off between health and economy; you need healthy people to make the economy work, and a working economy gives you healthy people.”
While acknowledging that the economy is heavily dependent on tourism, which has taken a huge blow due to the pandemic, Holness said his administration has already started planning for the inevitable reopening of the sector.
“We are already figuring out ways how we can have control corridors of entry, and how to move our tourists safely from airports to hotels, that they can enjoy our lovely beaches and people,” he said.
These new measures may include a Health Passport. Quest, however, cast doubt on the reliability of the information that would be presented in a health passport because of the easy transmission of the virus.
To which Holness responded that the idea is to obtain some health information on any tourist entering the island.
“I think it’s the information that is important,” he said. “You want to at least have a health profile of the visitor that is coming, and that process itself helps the visitor to be aware of the protocols that they would have to follow.” he said.