It is the pressure no other Prime Minister in the history of Jamaica’s independence has ever faced. Prime Minister Andrew Holness faces head-on the insuperable task of leading a nation, fragile out of an International Monetary Fund agreement. As the days pass, with the increase in Jamaica’s coronavirus cases, there is mounting pressure on the Prime Minister to do more.
While some Jamaicans call for a lockdown, Andrew Holness leads a nation with the most positive Covid-19 cases in Caricom. As the toll on the economy is unknown, this is the political risk the Holness administration wants to wager on. Allowing the economy to continue means some Jamaicans are still expected to work and traverse the streets. While Kingston may be a hotbed for the coronavirus which causes Covid-19 to spread, it is St. Catherine the neighboring parish which leads the overall count.
Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke’s leadership is being tested during this pandemic. According to press statements the Government’s We Care stimulus package received approximately 480,000 applications. The staggering numbers reflects Jamaicans who have been directly impacted by Covid-19. These are scary times for Jamaica. This could be the heart of the reason Holness refuses to implement a total lockdown. While, some await a lockdown, the Government closed applications from accessing Government support.
The People’s National Party’s Imani Duncan-Price, who is a candidate in the next general election has been making the case to extend the support so vulnerable Jamaicans can benefit. With Jamaica returning to the International Monetary Fund, can the Government afford to keep the programme open?
People vs Economy
And every decision the Prime Minister makes is under scrutiny. He leads, he is criticized, he delays action, he is woefully criticized. Moreover, the Prime Minister may find himself behind in the Covid-19 response as the numbers are now reported in double digits. Before April, Jamaica reported single digit positive cases which gave the best case scenario impression that the Government had control of the pandemic and its spread in Jamaica. As the numbers clime from hot spots like Alorica – a call centre with numerous cases – Jamaica could be at the embryonic stage for community spread. The Prime Minister wants to keep the economy open and working for people. However, Covid-19 is here to cripple the world economy. Whether Holness wants to be the savior of it all, there will come a time when his best intentions contradicts good sense. Covid-19 cripples a country’s economy and stretched small health care resources thin.
Politics Tun UP
While Jamaicans are suffering, politicians have come to the rescue. The upcoming elections will be a dogged battle to the end as the politics of Covid-19 decisions play out. Oh, yes, expect these same leadership questions around the timing of Holness’ decisions to become the centre of the next general elections. However, with the closeness of the next elections, politicians understand what is at play. It is campaign season. Jamaicans who want to put politics aside may not understand that the stakes are high and political careers are literally on the line.
STAY AT HOME Music Video
DJ Powa has found it again with this latest video of PM Holness PSA Stay at Home message. While this video may inject some sincerity amidst the scary news, the big issues remain.
Jamaicans want to return to normalcy. However, those days may never return.