On March 13, 2020, the Government of Jamaica declared the entire island a “disaster area” in accordance with S.26 of the 2015 Disaster Risk Management Act; a response to the concerns surrounding the threat that is the novel COVID-19 virus.
A declaration of such kind can only be made once the Prime Minister – on advice of the Minister responsible for disaster preparedness – is satisfied that a disaster is occurring and that extraordinary measures are required to prevent or minimize loss of life or harm to the health of persons.
Upon the declaration of a disaster area, the Prime Minister may, by Order, identify and direct the enforcement of several measures which he believes are desirable for the removing or safeguarding against such a hazard.
According to S.3 of The Jamaica Gazette Act, 1906, The Jamaica Gazette shall contain such matter, and shall be printed, published and distributed subject to such rules, regulations and orders, as the Minister may from time to time prescribe or issue.
Since the declaration, there have been seven Disaster Risk Management (Enforcement Measures) Orders gazetted, with each amendment implementing new restrictions:
Non-compliant civilians face serious consequences, including a potential fine of no more than one million JMD and imprisonment for no more than twelve (12) months.
We at Jamaicans for Justice continue to keep a watchful eye on the development of these enforcement measures, to ensure the rights of all Jamaicans are being protected, and sufficiently upheld.
Stay tuned to this space for updates!