There appears to be low citizen reporting on persons who are breaking quarantine on the island. These individuals are reportedly refusing to stay home for the 14 day period, not following the quarantine guidelines set by the Health Ministry despite the obvious threat of Covid-19. Security Minister Dr. Horace Chang who made the disclosure recently, says this affects the ability of the police to carry out arrests and also puts public health at risk.
However, reports of citizens breaking quarantine while they await Covid-19 results is not new. There were reports of persons leaving Seven and Eight miles Bull Bay to purchase food and other necessities when the area was first placed under the COVID containment measure in March. Similar reports were also received about the practice in the Cornpiece Settlement, Clarendon. The action, however, becomes a problem for public health and safety when no one knows their Covid-19 status unintentionally passing on the disease to others. The Security Ministry is now raising an issue with citizens reporting on these instances which, in turn, affects effective policing.
“Police operate on the basis of being informed. The police officers by reading a newspaper cannot go and charge somebody. They need evidence which means generally in Jamaica first-person affidavit, ” Security Minister Dr. Horace Chang said. “If you have a complaint and your cameras pick up a car that was reported then you can act on that electronic data. You can’t go for somebody and charge them until you have the report that X and Y were seen breaking the order.”
The National Security Minister says stronger measures will now have to be enforced.
“There is still a very strong resentment in Jamaica to report to the police – the ‘informer’ fi dead culture and the Police cannot act without evidence or reports”. Dr. Chang shares. “”
The Security Minister believes that the failure of citizens to report these cases can put the health of others at risk in a period of uncertainty where COVID-19 numbers continue to climb globally.