Latest News

Local Government Minister Announces Immediate Resumption Of Burials Every Day

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Hon. Desmond McKenzie is notifying the public that consequent on the revocation of Orders under the Disaster Risk Management Act, as announced by the Prime Minister, the restrictions imposed on burials under those Orders no longer apply.

Subsequently, burials may now be held every day of the week, there is no time limit for burials and there is no restriction on the number of mourners, clergy, undertakers and other persons attending a burial.

“I know that this will be a tremendous relief to families all over the country, who want to say farewell to their deceased relatives in the traditional Jamaican way, and in keeping with various denominational conventions. While this restriction is being lifted, I still want to urge everyone to act responsibly to reduce risk and safeguard your health.”

Local Government and Rural Development Minister to Lead Special Inter-Ministerial Tour of Flood Damage in St. Ann, St. Mary, and Portland

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, will be leading a special Ministerial team that will tour the flood-damaged parishes of St. Ann, St. Mary and Portland tomorrow, Wednesday February 9, to assess conditions and pave the way for further interventions to assist affected parishioners.

“This team will be comprised of the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the Hon. Matthew Samuda, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation. It will also include the Members of Parliament from the Constituencies in these parishes, Mayors of the parish capitals and representatives from a number of Agencies including Mr. Varden Downer, Senior Director of Project Implementation at the National Works Agency.

“The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is already active on the ground in providing relief supplies, and one of the objectives of the tour is to see what more can be done to complement the work being done.

“Our visit will also help us to quickly devise targeted interventions to help the affected sectors in these parishes, such as agriculture. We will commence tomorrow’s activities in Portland, then move on to St. Mary and then to St. Ann.

“This Administration is highly cognizant of the disruption that the rains have caused in these parishes, and our response has, and will continue to reflect joined-up government in the delivery of support to our citizens.”


Malicious, Reckless and Unfounded – McKenzie

“…reject the baseless allegations and conspiracy theories being bandied out in the public domain by the irresponsible few”.

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Hon. Desmond McKenzie has rejected claims that the Government undermined the national football programme by preventing spectators from attending the last two World Cup qualifying matches at the National Stadium.

Mr McKenzie was firm in his rejection of the allegations, “This is completely malicious, reckless and unfounded. The Government of Jamaica is facilitating the responsible return of sport and social life in general, in line with the COVID-19 indicators. There is no policy to promote one sport while restricting the other”.

He continued, “The review of applications for sporting events is made by a clearly designated range of Ministries and Agencies, including the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, and this process, which is grounded in consultation and partnership, includes at all times the representatives of the stakeholders who make the applications. The most decisive factor in all cases is the rate of infection at the point at which the review is being made”.

Minister McKenzie says the rules have always been clear, “The policy of having a limited number of fully vaccinated spectators at sporting events was publicly introduced by me at a news conference on November 1, 2021 to facilitate fans attending the first World Cup qualifying home game between Jamaica and the United States on November 16, 2021. The online Events Authorization System was unveiled and endorsed by my colleague Ministers of Health and Wellness and Culture, Gender and Sport, as well as the President of the Jamaica Football Federation at this news conference”.

He explained that, “The reality is that the rising COVID-19 infection rates caused by the fourth wave of the virus drove the decision to have the remaining home matches played without spectators. This reality was not limited to the football programme. Permission was initially granted to the Jamaica Cricket Association to have a limited number of fully vaccinated spectators for four limited-overs matches between the West Indies and Ireland held at Sabina Park between January 8 and 16, 2022. The rising infection numbers resulted in this permission being revised to have the matches proceed without spectators. Again, the review process involved the Ministries, Agencies and cricketing stakeholders”.

Minister McKenzie is asking members of the public to reject the baseless allegations and conspiracy theories being bandied out in the public domain by the irresponsible few. He asserted that, “This Administration continues to gradually reopen the public space by facilitating sporting events, including premier league and schoolboy football. while I fully understand the disappointment of fans of any sport who wish to turn out and give their personal support, I must re-emphasize that the ability to do so depends entirely on the COVID-19 indicators and nothing else. I therefore urge all well-thinking lovers of sport to.”

COVID-19 Embraced In Planning And Execution Of Regional Platform

(JIS) – The effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have been embraced in the planning and execution of the Seventh Regional Platform instead of being viewed as obstacles, says the Chief of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Secretariat for the Americas, Raul Salazar.

He told JIS News that discussions were held with the Government of Jamaica, hosts of the Seventh Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean, on how to reprogramme the event once the COVID-19 pandemic reached the Caribbean.

“Jamaica remained very committed to the initial pledge to carry out the platform and once the date was defined, then the advisory council started to revise the agenda and decide which topics would be addressed.  COVID-19, which is a biological hazard, immediately became the centre of discussions,” he noted.

Mr. Salazar said that incorporating COVD-19 into the discussions on disaster risk reduction was not difficult because this type of hazard is covered in the Sendai Framework and is impacting all 35 countries in the region.

“We had discussions on how countries were prepared to address a hazard of this nature, reflecting on the capabilities of systems to address this situation, and how the Regional Platform would become a space for the country representatives to discuss what would be the future. These discussions include how disaster risk reduction could be addressed within the context of a pandemic that has started the process of systemic risk [assessment],” said Mr. Salazar.

He noted that systemic risk refers to the negative impacts of the health pandemic on other sectors like tourism and education, and on unemployment and gross domestic product (GDP).

COVID-19 has been incorporated into the four-day Regional Platform, with sessions examining topics such as ‘A regional approach to coordination on multi-hazards: 2020 lessons from the Caribbean’, ‘Strengthening Disaster Risk Governance: Lessons from COVID-19’, and ‘Achievements and challenges of risk governance in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The case of Uruguay’.

At the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston, where the Regional Platform hybrid sessions are been conducted, local COVID-19 protocols are also being observed with social distancing across several session viewing rooms, mask wearing and the daily logging of temperatures of participants.

The Seventh Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is being hosted by the Government of Jamaica from November 1 to 4 on the virtual platform, Hopin.

It is organised in partnership with the UNDRR and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.

Local Government Minister Says Covid-19 Protocols Will Be More Strictly Enforced After Party Boat Incident In Negril

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has warned that the enforcement of the Disaster Risk Management Act will be intensified as persons continue to attempt to find new ways to host and attend events in breach of the law.

“Just last weekend, there was an incident in Negril in which a party vessel capsized with many patrons aboard who were attending a floating party, and the video of the event and the incident has been widely shared. While we are relieved that there were no injuries or deaths reported, the fact is that all entertainment events are prohibited by Order. I have noted that the Westmoreland police are investigating the matter, and the fact is that all who organized this event, including the owners and managers of the vessel, and those who attended it are liable for prosecution. Earlier this year, all Cays were closed to entertainment events, as persons tried to find creative ways to host illegal parties. It is clear that there are people who are determined to devise any means possible to do what they know is illegal and stage entertainment events. The Ministry, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and the police are even more determined to interrupt these activities and prosecute those who promote their own interest over that of public health and safety.

“I cannot ask too often for our citizens and visitors to obey the law. I also wish to remind the public that now that the Disaster Risk Management Act has been amended, these offences attract specific fines, as well as a maximum fine of J$1 million and a maximum of one year in prison on conviction in the courts. The police are also no longer required to warn offenders before prosecuting them.

I therefore urge everyone to do the right thing, obey the law and safeguard your health and your life, as we manage COVID-19.”

Minister McKenzie Says Adjustments To National Burial Ban Possible, – After Consultations With Stakeholders In The Funeral And Burial Industry

As the Government of Jamaica continues its efforts to spearhead the management of COVID-19 through a range of measures, the Cabinet has this week indicated that it may favourably consider limited adjustments to one of those measures – a two-week ban on all burials – which took effect on Monday.

At a special news conference following the meeting of the Cabinet on Monday, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, revealed that he and Ministry officials have been meeting with representatives of the final care industry, including proprietors of funeral homes, who have expressed public health and financial concerns following the announcement of the temporary ban by Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness last Sunday.

“We met on the 2nd and the 8th of March, and we have agreed to meet again before the end of this week. The exchanges have been very frank and useful. On the economic side of things, it was put to us that gravediggers and other labourers at burial sites are paid only when burials actually take place, and so they would be out of pocket during the two-week pause on burials. Consideration is therefore being given to provide grants to these persons who will be affected.”

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development also stated that an adjustment to the temporary ban on burials is being contemplated by Cabinet, with the possibility of allowing:

  1. The burial or cremation of bodies that are in an advanced state of decomposition.
  2. The burial or cremation of bodies that are not in an advanced state of decomposition, but have been recommended for immediate burial by the appropriate health authorities, and
  3. The burial or cremation of indigent persons who die in state care.

Golden Age Home Contact Information

PARISH Telephone Number assigned
Golden Age Home 876-393-9992, 876-393-9988, 876-571-4794, 876-551-2383
ST. THOMAS 876-393-9860, 876-3939867
PORTLAND 876-393-9859, 876-393-9858
ST. MARY 876-393-9820, 876-393-9826
ST. ANN 876-393-9853, 876-393-9842
TRELAWNY 876-393-9838, 876-394-0002
ST. JAMES 876-393-9922, 876-393-9920
HANOVER 876-393-9904, 876-393-9915
WESTMORELAND 876-393-9870, 876-393-9902
ST. ELIZABETH 876-393-9939, 876-393-9931
MANCHESTER 876-393-9940, 876-393-9946
CLARENDON 876-393-9947, 876-393-9948
ST. CATHERINE 876-393-9986, 876-393-9987
Denham Town GAH 876-393-9952, 876-393-9984


List of Beaches and Rivers ordered closed

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
St. Mary (2) Spanish Bridge River
  Blue Hole River -Cascade
   0 2
St.Thomas (3) Yallahs River
Reggae Falls
Roaring River
Total 35 16 Beaches 19 Rivers

Kingston Hookah Lounge ordered closed for breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Orders

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, has ordered the closure of 420 Hookah Lounge Jamaica at Manor Park Plaza in Kingston for breaches of Orders promulgated under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Two employees from the establishment were arrested and charged by police on Sunday for breaches of the curfew order.

“The establishment has been ordered closed for 14 days for breaches. During this period, the operators will be required to obtain the necessary permits, including certification from the Jamaica Fire Brigade, to support their operations,” the Minister explained.

“There are other entities under our microscope and the same treatment will be meted out to them. We have further learnt that there are nightclubs operating under the guise of restaurants and lounges where the prescribed guidelines are being flouted. The names of these entities have been forwarded to the Jamaica Constabulary Force for further investigations.”

The public is being reminded that no approvals have been granted for the reopening of nightclubs. Community bars, taverns, sports bars, lounges, and restaurants can operate within the outlined Covid-19 protocols.

Minister McKenzie has also announced the creation of a new enforcement team to ensure that all entities for which the Ministry is responsible, adhere to the provisions of the DRMA Orders. The team has started work in the Kingston Metropolitan Area.

“The Government has issued a series of Orders since March, when COVID-19 was first detected in Jamaica. We have witnessed varying levels of compliance with these Orders by entities as well as by the general public, and the police have been working to enforce them, while our Agencies such as the Social Development Commission (SDC) have been instrumental in developing protocols and measuring compliance.”

The Ministry’s special enforcement team will comprise personnel from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, SDC and the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation.

“This new initiative will not replace the police. It is intended to complement the efforts of the Constabulary, which is already heavily involved in this new COVID-19 dimension of policing, as well as performing its normal duties,” the Local Government and Rural Development Minister said.

“The Government is determined to do everything possible to manage the pandemic in a way that ensures that the new normal has a space for everyone to thrive. This is exactly why we need full compliance with all protocols, so that public health and economic recovery can co-exist, to the benefit of our citizens.”

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.”