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Closure of 36 beaches and rivers takes effect today

Minister of Local Government and Community Development Honourable Desmond McKenzie is reminding the public that 36 beaches and rivers are officially closed as of today, Friday August 14. No activities can take place at these venues and no access to them will be allowed until further notice.

“We are serious about preserving public health, and that is why these 17 beaches and 19 rivers, which reflected glaring and continuous breaches of the COVID-19 protocols must be closed at this time. We will be monitoring these locations to make sure that they are closed until permission is given for re-opening. In the meantime, I am calling on those who will go to other beaches and rivers this weekend and thereafter, to stick to the protocols. We want to see increased use of masks, more sanitizing and social distancing. We don’t want the venues to be overcrowded. People can have a great time without creating an increased risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19.”



Parish Beaches Rivers
Kingston and St.Andrew (6) Bob Marley  Beach Cane River Falls
Penfield River
Grove River
Cane River (Dallas)
Hope River
  1 5
St.Catherine (2) Hellshire    Beach Caymanas River/Natures Paradise River
  1 1
Clarendon (3) Farquhar Beach Salt River
Cockpit River
1 2
Manchester (4) Alligator Pond Beach Alligator Pond River
Noisy River (Oxford  River)
Gutts River
  1 3
St.Elizabeth (1) Great Bay Beach
1  0
Westmoreland    (3) Bluefields Beach Sweet River
Norman Manley Beach  Roaring River
2 2
Trelawny (4) Burwood Beach
Jacobs Taylor
Half Moon Bay
Victoria/Charlott Beach
St. Ann (4) Ocho Rios Bay Beach/Turtle Beach Little Dunns  River
Fantasy Beach
Cardiff Hall Beach /Flavours Beach
3 1
Portland (3) Winnifred Beach
Frenchman’s Cove
St. Mary (2) Spanish Bridge River
  Blue Hole River -Cascade
   0 2
St.Thomas (3) Yallahs River
Reggae Falls
Roaring River
Total 36 17 Beaches 19 Rivers


Indigent House for West Rural St, Andrew mother

Ground was officially broken for the construction of the first in 100 indigent housing solutions over the next 12 months by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.

The houses are being built under the Ministry’s Municipal Social Assistance Programme (MSAP) which was conceptualized during the 2017/2018 fiscal year.

“The Andrew Holness administration has committed to do as much as we can to help to ease the sufferings of persons who fall within the category of poor and destitute,” said Portfolio Minister Desmond McKenzie.

“We put a new feature in it now, we added a water tank so if there’s no water, you have a tank to catch water.’

He was speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for an indigent house at Grant Hill in Lawrence Tavern, St. Andrew on July 29. The one-bedroom residence will be built at a cost of J$2.5 million. The beneficiary is 47-year-old Michelle Cookhorn.

“I’m very glad. Whether it’s one or two, I will be a very happy woman,” the single mother of five said between tears. “I feel very happy to be selected for this indigent house, I will take care of it. I prayed hard for this house and now victory is mine.”

To date, J$63M have been spent to construct 32 units for beneficiaries with four more targeted for construction during the new financial year.

Minister McKenzie was also joined by Mayor of Kingston, Senator Delroy Williams, Member of Parliament for West Rural St. Andrew Juliet Cuthbert Flynn and Councillor John Myers.

Brown’s Town Market to Benefit From J$15 Million Infrastructure Boost

After more than twenty years without effective maintenance or infrastructural improvements, change is coming for the users of the Browns Town Market in St. Ann. Following a tour of the facility yesterday, Minister of Local Government and Community Development Hon. Desmond McKenzie announced the allocation of J$15 million for works to be done.

“This is very popular Market. Over 700 vendors operate here, and that gives a clear idea of the customer volume that passes through in order to create a profitable and sustainable living for them. The conditions are unacceptable and so works are going to be quickly done to create a properly functional Market. The Technical Team will finalize the design and related aspects for the improvement works, and $7 million will be made available immediately for the most urgent repairs. The remaining funds will facilitate other infrastructure needs once the normal approval procedures are completed.”

Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay, Sydney Stewart, who also participated in the tour, said a preliminary estimate for works was done by the St. Ann Municipal Corporation. “We visited the Market last week and our technical team developed a costing on that basis. We are elated at the speed of the Minister’s response. He has charged us to ensure that all procedures are adhered to and we will ensure that everything that is done will not only serve the people of Brown’s Town and its environs, but will also stand up to scrutiny.”

Minister of Local Government Calls Meeting with Entertainment Industry Players

Minister of Local Government and Community Development Hon. Desmond McKenzie has called an emergency meeting of stakeholders in the entertainment sector for tomorrow, Wednesday August 5 at the Ministry, to discuss glaring and sustained breaches of the agreed conditions and protocols governing events and other gatherings.

This disregard for the rules is happening at and through numerous events being held all over the country. Our surveys show that over 700 events have been staged without any permission being sought. In other instances where approvals for events were given, the agreed conditions were blatantly breached. The Jamaica Constabulary Force is being stretched in responding to these breaches, and it is completely unfair to our policemen and women who are simultaneously dealing with everything from traffic violations to violent crime.

“I am also very concerned about the continued misuse of our beaches and rivers. The surveys have revealed that they are being overcrowded, in clear breach of the social distancing protocols. Little Dunn’s River, Spanish River and Little Ochi are just a few of the venues at which the overcrowding is occurring. Additionally, parties and other events are being held at various beaches and rivers, in clear violation of the stipulations that govern their reopening. Parties and tournaments are banned at beaches and rivers.

“The Government is very concerned about the public health implications and effects of the unconscionable behaviour that is being seen island-wide. I wish to make it clear that this Administration will not allow the gains made in the management of COVID-19 to be destroyed by people who have absolutely no regard for anyone’s interest but theirs.

“Accordingly, the Agenda for tomorrow’s meeting will involve a review of this completely unacceptable situation, and a decision about the way forward. The Government has been steadily working to restore economic and social life, but not at any price. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the relaxations granted to this point will remain. Actions have consequences, and I want to make it clear that we are determined to use the policy and legal tools available to ensure behaviour change in this time of public health emergency.”

PHOTOS: Minister McKenzie Hands Over House to Raheem Powell

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie (second right) makes a point during conversation with (from left) Mayor of Portmore, Councillor Leon Thomas; Ann-Marie Douglas, mother of Raheem Powell; Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and Member of Parliament, East Central St. Catherine, Hon. Alando Terrelonge; and Raheem Powell. Occasion was a tour of the new home, which the Minister handed over to young Powell at Watson Grove in Bridgeport, St. Catherine, on July 24. Minister McKenzie offered housing and educational assistance to Powell in November 2018 after his needs were highlighted in the media.


Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie (second right) is assisted by Raheem Powell (third left) in cutting the ribbon to officially hand over a house to Powell during a ceremony held at Watson Grove in Bridgeport, St. Catherine, on July 24. Others (from left) are Mayor of Portmore, Councillor Leon Thomas; Raheem’s mother, Ann-Marie Douglas; and Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and Member of Parliament, East Central St. Catherine, Hon. Alando Terrelonge.


Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie (left) greets Raheem Powell, at the handover of a house to young Powell at Watson Grove in Bridgeport, St. Catherine, on July 24. Looking on is Mayor of Portmore, Councillor Leon Thomas.

Gov’t To Deliver 100 Houses For The Indigent

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says the Government will be delivering some 100 indigent housing solutions in 12 months for persons in need across the island.

He informed that over the last year, 32 houses have been built and handed over to beneficiaries, with another 12 to be constructed by the end of the financial year.

“I took a conscious decision that if we are going to provide for these people who have served their country, we should provide the best possible solution, so that they can be comfortable living out the last days of their lives,” Minister McKenzie said.

He was speaking at the handover of a house to an indigent family in Long Road, Portland, on July 10.

Minister McKenzie said that the beneficiaries on the Indigent Housing Programme have served the country in various areas, such as health and security, and while they have fallen on hard times, the best care must be given to them.

He also added that the Ministry is looking at increasing the funds allocated to the municipal corporations for social housing assistance.

For his part, Mayor of Port Antonio, Councillor Paul Thompson, welcomed the new dwelling for Everald Gibson and his wife, Hazel.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for East Portland, Ann-Marie Vaz, said it was a “good day, because, one of the basic needs of human beings is the need for shelter”.

“The gentleman (Everald Gibson) served Jamaica for years, and for him to get a house is a joy for me,” she said.

Mrs. Vaz added that the housing programme is critical, especially for elderly persons, so that they can “live in comfort, with a roof over their heads”.

Public Markets Closed For Emancipation Weekend

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, has announced the closure of all public markets for this Emancipation weekend.
All markets operated by Municipal Corporations will be closed to the public from midnight Saturday, August 1, 2020 and reopen for business at 6:00am on Monday, August 3, 2020.
“This measure is in keeping with the Government’s Covid 19 protocols as well as the Parochial Market Laws which speaks to public markets and their closure on public holidays. I am therefore imploring our vendors and shoppers to adhere to the guidelines for their own safety and the welfare of others.”
Jamaica observes August 1 each year as Emancipation Day, which is a public holiday.
The Ministry has developed several protocols, which have been brought into force through the Disaster Risk Management Order, to ensure maximum public safety as Jamaica continues to battle the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Under the Order, markets and vending in public arcades and public transportation centres are permitted to operate between the hours of 6:00am to 7:00pm from Mondays to Saturdays. On Sundays, all markets must remain closed and no vending is permitted in public arcades and public transportation centres.
“I also want to use this opportunity to remind us that the daily curfew, which begins at 11:00pm until 5:00am the following day, will remain in place until September 30. Remember to observe social distancing, wear your masks and sanitize.”

Trelawny gets Drop-In Centre

FALMOUTH, Trelawny: The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development expanded its Municipal Social Assistance Programme (MSAP) with the opening of a Drop-In Centre to serve the homeless population in Falmouth, Trelawny.

The J$19m facility was built on lands at Victoria Street and is a stone’s throw away from the Trelawny Police Headquarters and the Falmouth Public General Hospital.

“The expansion of national facilities that will provide care and comfort to our homeless citizens is an important aspect of the work of this Government,” said Portfolio Minister, Honourable Desmond McKenzie.

“It is one of the features of the human face of this Administration, and a symbol of our commitment to assisting the vulnerable in our society.”

He was speaking at the official hand-over ceremony on Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

Minister McKenzie noted that it is the duty of the Government to protect the vulnerable and the Administration continues to fulfill this responsibility through the rehabilitation of infirmaries and the construction of drop-in centres.

The Trelawny Drop-In Centre is the fifth to be constructed under MSAP’s conceptualization in 2017. Similar facilities have been opened in Ocho Rios, St. Ann; Port Maria, St. Mary; Lucea, Hanover, and Black River in St.  Elizabeth.

Those expected to be commissioned into use next are in Linstead, St. Catherine and St. Thomas.

Drop-In Centres are the first point of contact for homeless persons and offer a range of care including a bath and other hygiene care, food, and medical assessment.


“These facilities were constructed so we ca reach as many people as possible and where we can provide them with food, medicine and in some cases, a place to sleep,” the Minister added.


“If they are tired and want somewhere to sleep, don’t turn them away. Provide a bed and let them sleep.”

He noted that since the onset of the Novel Coronavirus (Covid 19), the Government has been providing meals to more than 2000 homeless persons with two meals daily at the drop-in centres. This number also include some individuals who are not homeless but visit the facilities to access meals.

Reggae Mill Closed, But Other Businesses at Devon House To Remain Open

Following his announcement of the closure of Devon House effective today, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie has disclosed that only the Reggae Mill, the business tenant at the centre of the violation of COVID-19 protocols, will remain closed.
“In addition to announcing the closure yesterday, I indicated that a meeting would be held today with the management of Devon House. That meeting was held, and the decision has been made that the remaining 25 shops that operate out of Devon House should not be penalized for the offence committed at the Reggae Mill venue. Accordingly, they will remain open, but the Reggae Mill is now closed for breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Order.
“The Reggae Mill will be closed for two weeks. Additionally, no Place of Amusement licence will be granted for four to six weeks. The operations of Devon House will be closely monitored to see to it that the management of the entity takes all necessary steps to ensure that there are no further breaches of the protocols. As I indicated yesterday, the police have been provided with a list of venues operating in breach of the Disaster Risk Management Order, and they are being investigated with a view to prosecution.
“I will continue to appeal to everyone to obey all the COVID-19 protocols. We are in the middle of a pandemic, and the Government is resolute that no violations of the public health protocols will be tolerated. Once again, I must say how encouraged I am by the civic-minded Jamaicans who are reporting the violators, and we will deal with the breaches as they are disclosed to us.”

Local Government Minister saddened at death of Dunstan Whittingham

Minister of Local Government and Community Development Hon. Desmond McKenzie says he is saddened by today’s passing of Lionel “Dunstan” Whittingham, President of the Jamaica Higglers, Vendors and Markets Association.

“Dunstan was a passionate and tireless advocate for the interests of vendors for many years. He made his presence felt well before he rose into public view in the 1990s. I had the opportunity to observe and to interact with him, first as a Councillor in the then Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation, and later as Mayor. He was a serious force to be reckoned with, and he commanded the unwavering loyalty and respect of the vendors. While he was quick to challenge what he saw as mistakes by local and central government in dealing with the vendors, he was not defiant of public order. He supported many of the KSAMC’s initiatives to ensure harmony between business activity and good order and was not afraid to chastise conduct that was unruly.

“Dunstan was a man of substance, and he will be missed. I will miss him. I salute him and express condolences to his family, his friends, the members of the Jamaica Higglers, Vendors and Markets Association and to the wider community of vendors across the country.”