MONTEGO BAY, St James — President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) Omar Robinson last night expressed confidence that the 600 hotel rooms being sought by Government to accommodate COVID-19 patients will be realised.
“The JHTA understands fully the dilemma that is facing the Government and the nation at large, and is willing to assist,” Robinson told the Jamaica Observer, stressing that with ongoing dialogue between the JHTA members and Government the rooms will become available.
“Information had been sent out to our members earlier this week, most of whom are in the process of closing their own hotels and taking stock. A few hotels have reached out and discussions are taking place with the respective parties. We will continue to meet with our members to encourage their support,” said Robinson.
Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, at a press conference yesterday, expressed disappointment with the level of cooperation from hotel owners for the rooms requested by Government to house the infected COVID-19 patients.
He indicated that the State could use relevant legislation to take possession of properties, noting however, that this is not the route Government would like to pursue.
“We are going to have to make some hard decisions as to the suitability of this space to the extent that this space exists within the private sector. We are going to have to get the willingness of those players to work with us in the interest of the public,” Dr Tufton argued.
He added, however, that some hoteliers have come forward since the Government made the announcement on Monday that it was in search of 600 hotel rooms.
Robinson said last night that the association is cognisant of the powers of Government, stressing that “we are well aware of the powers of the Government in this situation and would rather promote a spirit of cooperation”.
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