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Most Jamaicans disagreed with decision to restart tourism sector in June - RJRGLEANER Don Anderson poll

Pollster Don Anderson
 
The latest RJRGLEANER Don Anderson poll has found that most Jamaicans disagreed with the government's decision to restart the tourism sector on June 15.
 
The poll was conducted at the end of July among 1,071 Jamaicans islandwide.
 
The poll findings come amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, with the 1,065 cases reported up to Wednesday.
 
The government reopened the borders to tourists in mid-June with tourists restricted to the so-called resilient corridor, which covered mainly coastal tourist areas.
 
Mr. Anderson said the majority - 53 per cent of respondents - did not agree with the move, while 46.7 per cent agreed with the government's decision. 
 
However, Mr. Anderson said Jamaicans were concerned about the danger of  tourists causing a spike in cases.
 
He said there was strong disagreement with the government's position not to test tourists on arrival in Jamaica, with 88 per cent of respondents saying that was not the right decision. 
 
The Health Ministry had said it did not have the resources to test all persons coming into Jamaica.
 
It also said such testing would divert resources from contact tracing and other programmes in health facilities.
 
 
Stranded cruise ship workers 
 
Just over 60 per cent of respondents approved of the government's handling of the issue of stranded cruise ship workers.
 
Mr. Anderson said 60 per cent of the persons interviewed felt that the government handled the situation well, while 40 per cent did not agree. 
 
Hundreds of Jamaican cruise ship workers were stranded amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
There were at times questions about the government's response to the situation when Jamaicans aboard the Marella Discovery Two Cruise ship complained about not being allowed to land after the vessel came within miles of Jamaica.
 
The government maintained that the ship left before it was able to complete the approval process.
 
 
CARE Programme 
 
The poll also found that most Jamaicans believe the government's $10 billion stimulus programme instituted amid the economic fallout caused by COVID-19 was effective.
 
The COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) programme, launched in April, provided cash grants to the poor, laid off workers and businesses in certain sectors.
 
Mr. Anderson said two out of every three persons polled think it was effective.
 
"When we asked people, 'Well, what you thought about that?' 68.5 per cent agreed that that could be effective and would work and would help them through the situation. Thirty-one per cent didn't agree," he revealed.  
 
Approval of the programme comes even as a call is being made for the government to develop another stimulus programme focused primarily on the most vulnerable Jamaicans.
 
Helene Davis Whyte, President of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), said given that Jamaica is expected to be dealing with COVID-19 for longer than initially thought, the government and stakeholders must come together to design a new programme.
 
Keith Duncan, President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), said the focus of any further stimulus must be on bolstering the social safety net.
 
According to Mr. Anderson, most Jamaicans also had no issue with the government taking $31.5 million from the Sandals group to help with the fight against COVID-19.
 
"There was significant support for this decision. Seventy-one per cent felt that this was a good move by the government, probably a good move by Sandals, we're not sure; But a good move by the government to accept it because they felt that that would help offset the financial challenges that were being faced by the whole COVID situation.... I don't think it matters to people where it comes from. The fact of the matter is that they getting another $31.5 million and people say, yeah man, take it. It can help us," he outlined.  
 
 


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