We 'coulda bawl blood'; closing call centres won't eliminate COVID-19

Letters to the Editor

We 'coulda bawl blood'; closing call centres won't eliminate COVID-19

Monday, May 04, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Jamaica is on the verge of an economic breakdown due to effects from the COVID-19 pandemic which entered our shores little over a month ago. With numbers increasing by the dozens each day, especially among those employed within the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, many are calling for an immediate shutdown of the sector.

The BPO sector currently employs approximately 40,000 Jamaicans, and raked in about US$700 million in 2018 alone. Let us also not forget that the sector has been credited with the highest employment growth of any sector over the past decade, and it has contributed to the country's employment rate falling to a record low of 7.3 per cent — the lowest ever to be recorded in the last 50 years.

In the presence of these realities, we can understand why the Government cannot simply halt the industry as we would be starving many Jamaicans of their bread and butter.

According to the latest release from the Ministry of Health & Wellness, Jamaica currently has over 400 confirmed COVID-19 cases of which more than half the tally is linked to the workplace cluster in Portmore. However, we cannot allow the disobedience and neglectful actions of one company within the whole sector to hamper the operations of the over 60 remaining companies who have been compliant with the protocols stipulated by the Government to combat the spread of the virus. It is not logical.

We must understand that, in light of what is happening across the world with the COVID-19 pandemic, governments are constantly assessing the crisis in their respective countries, and are constantly changing and implementing measures to reduce the spread as best as possible.

The Government of Jamaica has been playing its part in implementing such strategies, even as citizens continue to put a strain on those measures with non-compliance. We 'coulda bawl blood', shutting down call centres is not the answer; it will not eliminate COVID-19.

The containment of the virus is not just a responsibility of the Government, but an individual responsibility. So, instead of calling on the Government to shutdown Alorica and other BPOs that feed thousands of families, including yours, why don't we play our part to preserve our health and the health of others?

While we sit at home and monitor the unveiling of the pandemic each day, allow the Government to work and trust that they are working with the best interest of each and every Jamaican at heart.

We must begin to learn how to coexist with this virus and the best way to do so is by taking responsibility for our own health.

Marvin Taylor


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