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#JaVotes2020 | Physical Distancing Challenges In St Thomas During Nomination Activities

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Source: Jamaica Gleaner


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Shanna Monteith, Gleaner Writer 

The St Thomas police say they had a hard time during nomination day proceedings as party supporters failed to adhere to COVID-19 physical distancing rules.

Commander for the parish Superintendent Allison Byfield said scores of police and military personnel were deployed today to control crowds and to keep order.

She says despite their presence, the disobedience among supporters was a feature of today’s activities.

"We still have challenges as persons are disobeying the social distancing rule. The police and members of the JDF [Jamaica Defence Force] have to be out to remind them to stay the six feet distance," she said. 

"Also, a party supporter had to be rushed to hospital after she was hit down by a vehicle along the Retreat main road. She is in stable condition but I'm unable to say whether she will be admitted,” Byfield continued.

“Outside of that, we can say it was an incident free day. No report was received from any of the nomination centres of any clashes from supporters and no arrests were made," she continued.  

Meanwhile, there was a brief standoff between security personnel and supporters of the People's National Party (PNP) when the incumbent Dr Fenton Ferguson arrived at the National Heritage Trust building in Morant Bay to be nominated at 1:30 p.m. 

Addressing the issue, Byfield said, "That’s a matter to be dealt with internally. I think Dr Ferguson’s CPO [close protection officer] showed disregard to the senior officer here on duty but internally we will deal with that."

In the meantime, Ferguson expressed gratitude to persons for their show of support while at the same time acknowledging that he was unable to control the large crowd that turned up.  

The throng of supporters shouted their love for the 'six-star general'. 

"We had a tremendous turn out of supporters in spite of messages going out to say remember its COVID time. We tried to keep the crowd moderate but we were not successful. There's a lot of people here to witness the nomination and still, most are down the road with their vehicles waiting for us to take a mini-tour around the constituency."

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