KC Extend Unbeaten Run

Champions Kingston College continue to chart the course towards a title defence, as they made it five from five in Group G of the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup with a 5-1 beating of Dunoon Technical at Breezy Castle yesterday.


The rescheduled encounter was postponed from a week and a half ago after bad weather intervened with KC up 2-0 close to the hour mark.


It was the first time Kingston College were conceding this season as they pushed their tally to 24 goals, with maximum 15 points at the top of the standings.

Dunoon Technical remain in third position on two points.


Eltham High maintained second position in Group F with a 3-2 win over Campion College at the latter's home ground.

The win pushed Eltham up to seven points, while Campion College remain rooted at the foot of the standing without a point from four outings.

General COVID-19 Lockdown Will Impede Economic Recovery



Jamaica, like most countries in the world, faces a time of deep uncertainty. Questions abound such as: how long will the spread of COVID-19 persist? How soon can normal business activity resume? Will there be a second wave of infection? As a small-island economy, there are other considerations: When will tourism restart? Will remittances return to former levels?

In the midst of this conundrum, the recent escalation in confirmed cases attributed to a call centre in Portmore has, not surprisingly, led to calls for a shutdown of the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector. In fact, many pundits go further and argue that the Government should lock down all business activity, outside of narrowly defined essential services, citing similar policy prescriptions in other countries.

I have been a businessman in Jamaica for many years and, as a result, have been through many down cycles from 9/11, our own domestic financial crisis and the sub-prime mortgage crash, all within the context of a fragile economy characterised by weighty sovereign indebtedness, substantial inflation and high unemployment. While our economy has been strengthening over the last several years, a testament to strong leadership and the resilience of our citizenry, it is clear we have never faced anything so profound as this current threat. As a result, the stakes are high and every decision carries outsized gravitas, placing tremendous pressure on our country’s leadership, both in the private and public sectors.

This said, and being cognisant of a government’s sacrosanct mission to protect its people, I posit that a general lockdown, or the shuttering of a specific sector (for example, BPO), is inimical to promoting a positive recovery in the medium term.


To support this, I offer five arguments from business segments in which I am directly involved:

1. THE LOSS OF CRITICAL FOREIGN EXCHANGE: As an example, the BPO industry earns, by my estimate, net foreign exchange inflows of between US$400 million and US$500 million per annum; the fallout of tourism and remittances will result in chronic foreign exchange shortages for at least the next 12 months. While our minister of finance has taken the step to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for balance of payments support, losing our now largest source of foreign currency earnings will have a devastating effect on our economy and, by extension, our people.

2. THE IMPACT ON EMPLOYMENT: The construction services sector employs over 100,000 people, mainly from the lowest social demographic in large urban centres such as St James and St Andrew/St Catherine. The restrictions in St Catherine have not only closed several large sites in that parish but severely impacted sites in Kingston, which draw the majority of their team members from that parish. This restriction gives a preview of the considerable job losses from this sector in the event of a general lockdown, among a demographic that has very little social cushion. It is instructive that Canada exempted this industry from closure for many of the reasons above.


Call centre contracts are ‘mobile’ by nature; a break in service in Jamaica will see the large multinationals moving capacity to other regions which remain open for business. Once Jamaica displays this fragility, bringing contracts back to our shores will likely be a long and arduous journey, a great tragedy after the national effort and investment that has been put into growing this sector.

4. IMPACT ON FINANCIAL SECTOR: Financial intermediaries are always challenged during economic downturns as investment and loan assets depreciate in value. A lockdown will likely catalyse further business closures, and in turn erode capital in the sector. With the global environment deteriorating, this additional pressure on a critical industry is cause for concern.

5. SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES: With very little in the way of available resources to meaningfully expand an already inadequate social safety net, remaining in lockdown mode, even for a relatively short period, will prove very challenging for citizens, many of whom live in difficult conditions that will only be compounded if they are deprived of the opportunity to earn an income.

Many developing countries have reported great difficulty in maintaining ‘stay at home’ orders in situations where people must earn daily in order to satisfy theirs and their family’s basic needs. As a policymaker, the question must be: it is known the pain will be great, are we sure the gain will be commensurate?


The arguments I have made above can only be sustained by companies operating in a responsible manner, such that the environment for employees is virtually as safe as remaining in their community. To that end, I applaud the recent addition to the safety requirements in the last government order and the intensive inspections now being carried out by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

I also believe that bad actors must be punished, such that they serve as an example to others who may be tempted to bend the rules, ignorant (or worse) of the danger they pose to their employees, the wider community and, indeed, the country.

Public-health experts may take issue that the opinions expressed here are biased towards commercial pursuits, and as a businessman, I acknowledge my inherent conflict. I would counter by arguing that many of the prescriptions implemented in other countries are now being second-guessed as the social and economic costs inexorably accrue.

At the very least, I sincerely hope that the private sector has a seat at the table as these momentous decisions are being considered. At the very least, if a wider lockdown is in the making, the country needs to think very carefully about which industries it will allow to operate.

Good decisions in this regard will, in my view, avert social upheaval while enhancing the viability of the companies that we will rely on to provide much-needed jobs when the dust settles.

- Peter Melhado is the president and chief executive officer of ICD Group Holdings Ltd. Email feedback to n NOTE: The chairman of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group, Joseph M. Matalon, is also chairman of ICD Group Holdings Ltd.

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What About Us? - Stranded Ship Workers Demand Answers After Learning Of TCI Patient Being Flown Into The Island


Group work:This must be done in pairs

Radio And Broadcasting 101 Test:Each question in the first section is a multiple-choice question with four answer choices. Read each question and answer choice carefully and choose the ONE best answer. Try to answer all questions. In general, if you have some knowledge about a question, it is better to try to answer it.

Question 1:The acronym FM stands for

Question 2:The largest amount of broadcasting air time is dedicated to

Question 3: A downward 45 degree angle of a D.J.'s vocal mic is used to

Question 4:The primary purpose of radio is to convey information from one place to another through

Question 5:The number of local Radio stations in the country from which newscasts flow is about:

Question 6:The only true broadcasters in the J.A. system are:

question 7: One tool that many radio stations use to analyze the timing and competitiveness of their programs is the:

Question 8:The broadcast industry rests on a three-legged stool of these economic factors:

Question 9:This part of the personal computer is important because it translates software applications for the CPU.

Question 10:n the basic transaction in commercial broadcasting,

Question 11:Which advertising medium has the advantage of low costs, flexibility, and effectiveness?

Question 12:What type of advertisement is most successful when it is visual, grabs attention, and has an identity all of its own?

Question 13:Which of the following is an advantage of Internet advertising?

Question 14:Which scientist is credited with the discovery the existence of radio waves

Question 15: __________ is the measurement of the opening in a lens of a camera that allows a specific amount of light to be let in.

Question 16:Which inventor conducted the first radio transmission in the year 1895

Question 17:Which of the following is not among the top radio format:

Question 18:The main purpose of radio station format is to target demographics to determine::

Question 19::Genre means

Question 20: Modern format of radio takes into consideration::

Question 21:The tone for broadcast news stories should be:

Question 22:A major disadvantage to email interviews is that

Question 23:In regard to taking notes and recording interviews, most reporters recommend

Question 24:Telephone interviews are best for

Question 25:A good way to get a reluctant source to speak is for the reporter to

What About Us? - Stranded Ship Workers Demand Answers After Learning Of TCI Patient Being Flown Into The Island

The Jamaican workers stranded overseas on-board the Marella Discovery 2 cruise ship have demanded answers from the Government after learning that the ban on incoming passengers was relaxed for a gravely ill patient from the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) who needed emergency medical treatment here.

The male patient arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston Thursday night, on-board an air ambulance, Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang has confirmed.

He was later transported to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) in St Andrew, where he tested positive for the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the hospital admitted in a statement yesterday.

This development comes nearly two weeks since the Marella Discovery 2, with 43 Jamaican workers seeking to disembark, was refused landing in Kingston because of the ban on incoming passengers which was imposed last month as part of the Government’s COVID-19 containment measures.

“How could this be possible given the fact that 43 Jamaican citizens were denied landing a few weeks ago?” one of the ship workers queried of The Sunday Gleaner yesterday.

“Why weren’t the protocols followed to obtain the requisite exemption from the order restricting incoming passenger traffic to Jamaica for 43 Jamaican citizens, but it was for someone from the Turks and Caicos Islands?”

The ship worker, whose name is being withheld, expressed sympathy for the TCI patient, but insisted that “we were treated unfairly”.

“The crew members are not carriers of COVID-19 and would not pose any threat to our families or the wider population. However, this foreigner tested positive, putting our healthcare workers at risk,” he stated.


The stranded crew members got support from Matondo Mukulu, former public defender in Jamaica and a barrister in the United Kingdom, where the Marella Discovery 2 is now docked.

Mukulu believes most Jamaicans would not take issue with a relaxation of the ban for the TCI patient, but “I think every Jamaican would also say that it appears that the Government does not know how to define an emergency”.

“Because 43 hard-working Jamaicans wanting to disembark is also an emergency. Not because they were not faced with a life-and-death situation does not mean that it was not an emergency,” he told The Sunday Gleaner.

However, Chang defended the decision to relax the ban and allow the TCI patient to get treatment at the UHWI, saying it was a “medical emergency”.

Chang insisted, too, that there were no comparisons between the two cases and that both were handled “professionally”.

“In this case [the TCI patient], we had a medical emergency. A life-and-death situation is completely different from the ship,” Chang said.

“It’s a different case all together, completely different. The two things can’t be treated the same way.”

The Marella Discovery 2 arrived in Kingston on April 2. According to reports, it refuelled and waited hours for docking clearance, but left after a day when no response came from the Government.


Prime Minister Andrew Holness revealed, during a press conference last week, that he and some members of the Cabinet agreed informally that the ship workers should be allowed to disembark in their homeland. However, he said the ship, through its agent, withdrew the application for docking clearance and left before the process was completed.

Chang explained that the TCI man is a patient of the UHWI, having had surgery at the Mona, St Andrew hospital in March this year. He noted, also, that Jamaica has a longstanding arrangement with the TCI to treat serious medical cases.

According to the UHWI, he was a cancer patient who had a “bleeding gastric cancer treated on March 16 this year. He returned home 10 days later”, the hospital said in a statement yesterday.

“He went back home [after the surgery] and developed significant complications, which required intensive care treatment. There is a legal and moral obligation to bring him back to the university [hospital] and treat him for a procedure that was done in Jamaica recently,” Chang asserted.

The national security minister noted that there was a provision in the Disaster Risk Management Order that gives him the authority, subject to the approval of Cabinet, to approve the easing of the ban on incoming passengers.

Were COVID-19 Protocols Breached? - Health Ministry, Call Centre Under Scrutiny For Procedures Followed During Virus Outbreak

Angela Whitcomb* was sent home on Thursday, April 9 from her job at the Portmore, St Catherine, branch of Alorica, the business process outsourcing (BPO) firm at the centre of the sudden increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Jamaica.

The following day, her employers confirmed, in a memo to staff, that one of her colleagues had tested positive for the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and that operations there would be temporarily halted to allow for deep cleaning and sanitisation of the facility.

The young woman, who resides in St Catherine with her mother and four-week-old sibling, said that by Saturday, April 11 she was tested for the virus. Five days later, according to her, the result came back positive.

“I was scared,” Whitcomb admitted.

But what followed next has left her even more distressed and perplexed.

“The Ministry of Health called and said my result came back positive and they would call me and tell me when is the pickup date,” she told The Sunday Gleaner on Friday, April 17, alluding to possible isolation at a government facility.

“But I have to be the one calling them about the pickup date, and up to this moment, nobody has said to me the pickup date will be x y z, at what time or anything like that.”

She charged, “They are helping to spread the virus because there are people in my household who have asthma and such, and nobody seems to care.”

Whitcomb said she was aware of two of her colleagues who were in the same predicament.


Approximately six hours after the interview, after The Sunday Gleaner made contact with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Whitcomb was picked up by medical workers at midnight Friday.

“It’s okay so far,” she shared yesterday.

Dunstan Bryan, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health & Wellness, indicated during an interview on Friday that he was not aware of the claims by the Alorica employee. “I don’t know, I’ll have to investigate that,” he said.

However, Bryan pointed to the protocol established by the ministry for persons who test positive for COVID-19. As part of the protocol, he said the ministry conducts an assessment of the “home situation” of a confirmed patient to determine whether they can isolate at home.

The assessment, Bryan said, is guided by a number of variables. “Some of those variables will include whether or not the person lives alone, whether or not the person can have, within a household, their own bathroom facility and their own bedroom facility and, therefore, they wouldn’t need to interact with the rest of the household,” he explained.

“If the epidemic moves to the next phase of community spread, we would not have enough beds in hospitals to accommodate those persons who are mildly ill.”

Whitcomb said none of this was ever discussed during her interaction with employees of the health ministry. “Nobody told me this,” she insisted.

The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed locally on March 10, and over the ensuing month, 65 cases were recorded, according to figures from the health ministry. In the past week, however, that number jumped by 108, due largely to at least 84 cases uncovered at Alorica.

Up to late yesterday, the number of confirmed cases locally stood at 173. Five persons have died and 25 have recovered.


Dana White*, another employee at Alorica’s Portmore branch, told The Sunday Gleaner that managers there did not begin to fully implement the Government’s COVID-19 guidelines until close to the Easter holidays.

She recounted one instance earlier this month when, according to her, supervisors at the Portmore branch were alerted by their counterparts at the Kingston branch about a possible visit by health inspectors.

“When they heard that ministry [of health] went to the town location and was headed over to the Portmore site, that’s when they started to run up and dung an say, ‘you need to sit a station apart’,” White recalled.

Further, the Alorica employee said she learnt, from a colleague on another account, that because of the expected site visit by the health inspectors, workers at the Portmore branch were directed to hide in unoccupied rooms.

“It seems like there were too many persons at work on that account that day,” she reasoned.

“I think it was two or three different rooms they tried to push them into and say dem must stay in the rooms. So, if the ministry was to come, they wouldn’t have noticed that so many persons were at work.”

Alorica has denied claims that it was operating in breach of the Government’s COVID-19 guidelines. Chief Medical Officer Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie acknowledged, too, that the company had met the standard established to prevent the spread of the virus.

“We are yet to determine how the infection had spread among the [Alorica] employees. In terms of the audit tool that was in place … [it] indicates that what measures were there were, in fact, adhered to,” Bisasor-McKenzie said.

This pronouncement came after Prime Minister Andrew Holness used a nationally televised press conference to announce that he had asked the commissioner of police and the health ministry to investigate the circumstances under which persons at Alorica contracted the disease with a view to pursuing charges if the Disaster Risk Management Act was breached.

Investigators have declined to provide an update on the probe.


Top criminal defence attorney Peter Champagnie said he would not dismiss Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ directive to the police as wild statements, but cited two factors that would make it challenging to bring criminal charges against Alorica.

According to Champagnie, investigators would need statements from employees and/or other persons of the alleged breaches at the BPO firm, as well as evidence that the infections “arose within the confines of the specific building and not, for instance, from a grouping of people on the outside waiting to go inside”.

“You will always have to prove to the satisfaction of a tribunal that the necessary ingredients [of an offence] have been established. By that I mean you would have to have a statement from someone attesting to the facts,” he argued.

“So, it is not so easy, when you look at it from an evidential point of view, to prove simply so.”



Chief prosecutor Paula Llewellyn sidestepped the issue.

“It’s an unwise prosecutor who makes a comment on matters or issues of fact and law that are not yet before them for examination and scrutiny. I don’t consider myself unwise, so I have no further comment to make,” said Llewellyn, the director of public prosecutions.

Champagnie said maybe the time has come for legislative changes that would make breaches of the orders made under the Disaster Risk Management Act “strict liability offences. That is to say, the prosecution would not have to go through all these various elements to prove a case.”

While acknowledging that employers have a duty of care to ensure that the work environment is “as safe as it can reasonably be”, attorney-at-law Gavin Goffe suggested that a lawsuit against Alorica would also face serious hurdles.

At the top of the list, Goffe said, is that Alorica employees would have a challenge showing that even if the company was in breach of their duty of care, “it was that breach which led to individuals becoming infected” with COVID-19.

“The CMO cleared Alorica and said that they were compliant with the protocol established by the Government. If that is the case, then they wouldn’t have a case against anybody,” he reasoned.

However, Goffe said that could change with allegations that employees were instructed to hide in a room at the Portmore offices as part of an attempt to deceive health inspectors about the number of persons who were actually at the facility.

“If that, in fact, happened and you could somehow trace the spread of the virus to that particular deceptive act, then yes, I think you could have a case against them in that instance,” he explained.


* Names changed to protect identity.

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Too Big To Fail - Is The High-Employment BPO Sector In Jeopardy Because Of The COVID-19 Outbreak?

The sometimes-vilified business process outsourcing (BPO) industry is a privileged sector in Jamaica because, for successive administrations over the past decade, it’s been pursued as a key economic solution to the political and social problem of unemployment and poverty.

Now the centre of the COVID-19-surge in Jamaica amid ballooning unemployment – Sunday Gleaner’s rough estimate is at least 350,000 – the Andrew Holness administration is being tested with calls for a shutdown of the sector.

There are also admissions that Jamaica is reaping the consequences of weak oversight of an industry that was branded a ‘sweatshop’ in its early days. But there is strong support for the Government to avoid any ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to shut down the industry which crowds workers in relatively small and communal spaces – a favourable environment for the highly contagious coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“The respective attention that should have been given to it (BPO sector) was not applied,” stated Senator Kavan Gayle, president of the ruling party-affiliated Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU). According to him, successive governments have ignored concerns about the quality of the working environments throughout that sector.

Opposition Spokesman on Labour Horace Dalley has gone further, suggesting that the BPO sector should not have been allowed to remain operating during the public health crisis, because “quite frankly, I don’t think they’re an essential service”. He claims governments’ approach over the years has ignored the health and safety standards and COVID-19 has “opened our eyes”.


Trade unions have no foothold in the sector, and Gayle believes that has been to the disadvantage of the approximately 40,000 workers spread across the 68 operations in Jamaica.

Critics, including the University and Allied Workers Union’s Lambert Brown, have blamed this on the insecurity of tenure created by the dominant use of contract-based employment, which they claim has induced victimisation fears in employees.

“Maybe if they were organised and they were represented by a trade union, then the trade unions would have the opportunity to have the required consultation that may have prohibited any of these occurrences,” Gayle added.

The union boss was referring to the developments last week in which at least 84 workers at the Alorica call centre in Portmore, St Catherine, tested positive for COVID-19. The cases and the likelihood of a rapid disease spread triggered the lockdown of the parish, and calls for the Government to shut down the local industry.


So far, that extreme measure is off the table, but Daryl Vaz, the minister in charge of investments, has argued that Alorica’s “irresponsible behavior” has jeopardised the industry.

“Obviously, there’ll have to be a review and … there’s a possibility that, as a result of this, and the exposure of the citizenry to additional cases of COVID because of this irresponsible behaviour, the industry may actually end up coming to a halt,” Vaz told The Sunday Gleaner.

But with the economy heading for a “massive economic shock” because of the public-health crisis, according to Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke, Prime Minister Holness will be hard-pressed into closing off, even temporarily, the industry that raked in about US$700 million, representing around four per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), in 2018. Tourism and remittances, big earners for Jamaica, are already facing major fallouts.

That’s why Professor Densil Williams, scholar in international business, contends that, with the mass-employing capacity of the BPO sector and the fallout from other key earners, the Government should not rush to remove a buffer against unemployment and poverty for thousands of young people.

“The BPO sector has provided a significant number of jobs, especially for young people who have just left school who really don’t have an opportunity in other places,” said Williams, the pro-vice chancellor, Academic-Industry Partnerships and Planning, at the University of the West Indies. “We cannot say that the BPO sector needs to just be shut down like that. However, what we need to do is to manage the operations of the BPO sector in a way that the first priority is the preservation of the health of the workers.”


Jamaica’s unemployment rate now stands at 7.3 per cent – about 100,400 Jamaicans out of a job, according to data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). Seven years ago, the rate was over 15 per cent in 2013.

That record low figure, however, is from the pre-COVID-19 era, and Professor Williams estimates that “we could add, easily, another 100,000 people” since the outbreak.

“Subsequent to COVID, we’ve heard of a significant number of layoffs in a number of sectors – tourism, bauxite and mining, manufacturing, entertainment and hospitality, transportation. If my calculation is correct, that would be roughly doubling unemployment rate in the very short term to about 15 per cent,” he told The Sunday Gleaner.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett disclosed Friday that 75 per cent, or 120,000 directly employed workers in the sector, have lost their jobs.

Government has not released figures on other sectors. However, the 403,000 applications for the state’s compassionate grant give some indication of the fallout in the economy, which the International Monetary Fund projects will contract by 5.6 per cent in 2020.

STATIN data up to January 2020 shows 192,000 employed in agriculture; 119,800 in construction; 75,600 in manufacturing; 361,700 in transport and communication- related areas.


Olivia Leigh Campbell, vice-president of the Global Services Association of Jamaica (GSAJ), formerly the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica, has a stake in the industry, but she’s urging the Government to consider the impact on families before making the ultimate decision.

“You can’t just shut it down. It’s 40,000 people that carry home their salaries. They pay the taxi men, they buy food. A lot of people depend on the income,” she appealed, reminding the Government that it, too, earns a “fair amount”.

Entry-level jobs range from J$300 to J$700 per hour.

Campbell, who is also the manager, Global Strategic Initiatives at Sutherland, doesn’t want the industry punished for the Alorica situation, noting that operators were clear on the importance of protecting workers even before the prime minister’s warning.

“When you operate a BPO, every evening, at whatever o’clock, you watch 90 per cent of your resources walk out the building, and the only way you can have a business tomorrow morning is if 90 per cent of your resources walk back in the building,” she pointed out.

About 30 per cent of Jamaica’s BPO workers are doing their jobs from home, GSAJ president, Gloria Henry, has disclosed.

India, one of the leading markets, is struggling to devise work-from-home solutions, the India Times has reported. Other countries like the Philippines have imposed measures ranging from requirements to provide transport and accommodation to graduated shutdowns.

Getting permission from the authorities to remove equipment and from clients concerned about data security, given Jamaica’s lottery scamming history and links with call centres, are among the challenges facing operators in increasing the work-from-home cohort, The Sunday Gleaner understands.

Moving the equipment also invites a risk, as operators must pay the 21 per cent duty concession granted them on imports, if tools are not returned, the Sutherland executive said.

Two call centre workers from two of the biggest firms in Jamaica, who spoke on condition that their names are withheld, contended that “things are not perfect” but they were happy to have a job.

“I’m not going to lie, the work can be tough and all, but at least I can get up to go out. I have a degree from the University of the West Indies and, for almost a year after, I couldn’t get a work. I’m grateful,” one worker said.

“Mi just hope dem nuh shut it down.”

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