‘Our people live hand-to-mouth’: John Mahfood calls on gov’t to immediately open the economy

Businessman John Mahfood is calling on the Government of Jamaica to immediately reopen the economy as “our people live from hand to mouth and cannot survive another month with jobs”.

“My message to the government is to immediately reopen the economy in a controlled manner, while keeping schools closed until after summer, keep the older vulnerable population at home and keep the borders closed through the end of summer,” Mahfood wrote in a paid advert in the Jamaica Observer newspaper.

“Study the way in which countries in Europe have been approaching the problem for guidance. The measure of success with this problem should not be solely on the number of cases but how quickly we can resume economic activity and reduce the misery of the people. Failure to take action is going to result in chaos in this country of ours,” he continued.

‘The government does not have the resources to feed the people who are out of work.’

—John Mahfood

Mahfood added: “Our people live from hand to mouth and cannot survive another month with jobs. There are already 300,000 direct and indirect persons impacted by the closure of the tourism industry and there have been 400,000 applications for financial assistance. The government does not have the resources to feed the people who are out of work.”

The Jamaican Teas Ltd boss said that the government communicates well about the efforts at containment but has said nothing about its strategy to end it. He said the government should provide the country with information on its plans to reopen the economy “so that we are not in a constant state of uncertainty”.