Daily Observer (Jamaica)

COVID-19 is no re­specter of per­sons

- Donald Trump · Melania Trump · United States of America · U.S. Centers for Disease Control · Jamaica · Kingston · Marshall Islands · U.S. State Department · Davis · University of the West · West Indies · Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change · Al Gore · Duncan · Marshall · Grant · Competition · Ellington, CT · Office of the Prime Minister · Sisters of Mercy · The Sisters of Mercy · Sisters

Once more COVID-19 has re­minded us that it is no re­specter of per­sons. The most pow­er­ful man in the world, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, has been hos­pi­talised with the dis­ease and there are con­flict­ing sto­ries about his con­di­tion and the date on which he was tested. Let us keep Pres­i­dent Trump, his wife Me­la­nia, and in­deed ev­ery­one who has been bat­tling this ter­ri­ble virus in our prayers.

Un­for­tu­nately, cit­i­zens of the US re­ceived mixed mes­sages re­gard­ing the wear­ing of masks and so­cial dis­tanc­ing, and the Cen­tre for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion (CDC) has noted that, if this had been a na­tion­wide man­date, the toll would have been about half of the over 200,000 peo­ple who have suc­cumbed to the dis­ease. We ex­pect that af­ter this ex­pe­ri­ence, Pres­i­dent Trump will join the sci­en­tists in pro­mot­ing the life-sav­ing pro­to­cols to help flat­ten their curve.

We in Ja­maica are cer­tainly not out of the woods, and we must do bet­ter with fol­low­ing the or­ders of the Dis­as­ter Risk Man­age­ment Act. Even in the face of com­mu­nity spread we are learning from a Ja­maica Ob­server re­port that bribes were be­ing col­lected at one of our air­ports in ex­change for not in­stalling the COVID-19 tracker on the phones of in­di­vid­u­als be­ing pro­cessed on ar­rival. Fur­ther, po­lice of­fi­cers have been at­tacked in Kingston and in St Ann when they tried to lock down par­ties be­ing held af­ter cur­few. What a dis­grace in the face of our ris­ing num­bers of cases and deaths! I hope we can in­tro­duce an ef­fi­cient tick­et­ing sys­tem to pe­nalise those care­less peo­ple who are still re­fus­ing to wear masks.

Our eco­nomic chal­lenges

You know the say­ing, “If Amer­ica sneezes, Ja­maica gets pneu­mo­nia.” This is a hard truth for tourism, as in last week’s press con­fer­ence held by the Eco­nomic Pro­gramme Over­sight Com­mit­tee (EPOC), chaired by Keith Dun­can, we learned that in the April-june 2020 quar­ter there was an 87.5 per cent down­turn in earn­ings from ho­tels and restau­rants. Dun­can noted that the pro­jec­tions are as­sum­ing an up­turn in tourism for the 2020-21 win­ter sea­son. In­deed, I heard from a friend re­cently who is plan­ning to spend al­most the en­tire win­ter in Ja­maica, per­haps try­ing to es­cape the dou­ble jeop­ardy of flu sea­son in COVID-19 times.

As we see the fall­out be­ing suf­fered by restau­rants, in­clud­ing fast food con­cerns which em­ploy thou­sands of Ja­maicans, we would like to en­dorse Ja­maica

Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Ex­porters As­so­ci­a­tion (JMEA) Pres­i­dent Richard Pan­do­hie’s call to ex­tend our cur­few hours to 10:00 pm. Those two hours could make a world of dif­fer­ence for restau­rants, su­per­mar­kets, and other places of business.

It is re­mark­able that the ‘safe cor­ri­dor’ des­ig­nated by the tourism min­istry has no COVID-19 hot spots. Re­cently Pro­fes­sor Peter Figueroa re­marked that our ho­tels had been do­ing ex­tremely well in ob­serv­ing pro­to­cols and en­cour­aged the re­open­ing of at­trac­tions which had done like­wise.

The EPOC con­fer­ence had some good news as well, as tax rev­enues and re­mit­tances have in­creased. Let us pause and say a prayer for those brave Ja­maicans who are on the front line in the US bat­tling the dis­ease and en­sur­ing that they send sup­port for their fam­i­lies back home.

Dun­can noted: “[I]f all of us as cit­i­zens dili­gently prac­tise the in­fec­tion con­trol pro­to­cols and the GOJ [Gov­ern­ment of time.”

Ja­maica] con­tin­ues its proac­tive and pru­dent macro fis­cal man­age­ment, along with its ef­forts in man­ag­ing the spread and the im­pact of the novel coro­n­avirus, we will give our­selves the best chance to see a sus­tained re­cov­ery of our econ­omy, jobs, and busi­nesses over

Jeremiah Knight ends Ja­maica tour

Af­ter three years in Ja­maica, Jeremiah Knight ended his dy­namic tour as the US Em­bassy’s coun­selor for pub­lic af­fairs on Septem­ber 30. We con­grat­u­late him on his pro­mo­tion to deputy chief of mis­sion at the US Em­bassy in the Re­pub­lic of the Mar­shall Is­lands. His notable ac­com­plish­ments dur­ing his ten­ure as the em­bassy’s head of pub­lic af­fairs in­clude pro­grammes for women’s em­pow­er­ment, cre­at­ing the De­part­ment of State’s lo­cal chap­ter of the Academy of Women En­trepreneur­s, and the em­bassy’s An­nual Women’s His­tory Month Grant Pitch Com­pe­ti­tion that awarded over US$300,000 in grants.

Jeremiah also col­lab­o­rated with the Bran­son Cen­tre to host rap ses­sions un­der the theme ‘Jour­neys to Scale’, pro­mot­ing the ex­change of ideas be­tween key business lead­ers in Ja­maica and the US to as­sist lo­cal en­trepreneur­s in ex­pand­ing their con­cerns.

At a vir­tual farewell get-to­gether last Mon­day, me­dia lead­ers, Press As­so­ci­a­tion of Ja­maica Pres­i­dent Ge­orge Davis, broad­caster and lec­turer Fae Elling­ton, and Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter Press Sec­re­tary Naomi Fran­cis ac­knowl­edged Jeremiah’s pro­mo­tion of in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism, part­ner­ing with the Caribbean In­ves­tiga­tive Jour­nal­ism Net­work.

Jeremiah, whose grand­fa­ther hails from Ja­maica, is pas­sion­ate about education. He es­tab­lished the Em­bassy’s US Ex­changes Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion (Ja­maica) and or­gan­ised is­land­wide school tours with US Am­bas­sador Don­ald Tapia, who has re­marked on his joy in en­gag­ing with our beau­ti­ful Ja­maican chil­dren.

He col­lab­o­rated with bright young en­thu­si­asts in a so­cial me­dia ad­vi­sory group, cre­ated the em­bassy’s Stake­holder Ap­pre­ci­a­tion and Recog­ni­tion Awards (SARA), and spear­headed the trans­for­ma­tion of the em­bassy’s Robe­son Amer­i­can Cen­ter into a sta­teof-the-art tech­nol­ogy space, fa­cil­i­tat­ing spe­cialised sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing, and math­e­mat­ics (STEM) clubs and a host of en­trepreneur­ship pro­grammes.

De­spite his tax­ing sched­ule, Jeremiah found time to en­ter­tain his friends and col­leagues with his amaz­ing culi­nary cre­ations gar­nered from his world­wide post­ings and en­hanced by his unique flavours.

Walk good, Jeremiah, you will be missed, but we are proud of your as­cent in the US diplo­matic ser­vice.

un­for­get­table rheta chen

Rheta Chen, beloved friend and fel­low as­so­ciate of the Sis­ters of Mercy, tried to pre­pare us for her de­par­ture, telling us that she was at peace and ready af­ter an up-and­down ill­ness with can­cer over sev­eral years. How­ever, when we heard of her pass­ing last Thurs­day we were dev­as­tated.

If I were to describe Rheta metaphor­i­cally I would say she was that morn­ing sun that warmed and nur­tured us. Per­haps it was her first ca­reer in nurs­ing that made her so car­ing and em­pa­thetic. Later she de­cided to study ac­count­ing and gave her skills freely to the Sis­ters of Mercy.

Rheta’s strong sense of duty saw her en­sur­ing that our Mercy As­so­ciates ac­counts were well man­aged, and that when we at­tended meet­ings of the Chi­nese Cul­tural As­so­ci­a­tion we were re­freshed. There was no sugar-coat­ing of her opin­ions, so we could de­pend on her for frank­ness and con­struc­tive crit­i­cism.

Rheta and her hus­band, Pro­fes­sor An­thony Chen, were an in­spir­ing couple, ever sup­port­ing each other’s en­deav­ours. They trav­elled the world to­gether as Prof Chen, pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus of physics at The Univer­sity of the West Indies, spoke at con­fer­ences on cli­mate change and had co-au­thored a pub­li­ca­tion for the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change (IPCC), which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with US Vice-pres­i­dent Al Gore.

We ex­press deep­est sym­pa­thy to Prof Chen, chil­dren Nor­man, Marsha, and Gail, and other fam­ily mem­bers for the loss of their beau­ti­ful Rheta. May her great soul rest in peace.

 ?? (Photo: ap) ?? Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump stands on stage with First Lady Me­la­nia Trump af­ter the first pres­i­den­tial de­bate on Septem­ber 29, 2020. Both have since tested pos­i­tive for the novel coro­n­avirus.
(Photo: ap) Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump stands on stage with First Lady Me­la­nia Trump af­ter the first pres­i­den­tial de­bate on Septem­ber 29, 2020. Both have since tested pos­i­tive for the novel coro­n­avirus.
 ??  ?? Jeremiah Knight
Jeremiah Knight
 ??  ?? The late Rheta Chen
The late Rheta Chen
 ??  ??

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