Thursday 26 November, 2020

Tufton dismisses Buju's anti-mask rant

Combination of photos showing health minister Dr Christopher Tufton (left) and reggae artiste Buju Banton.

Combination of photos showing health minister Dr Christopher Tufton (left) and reggae artiste Buju Banton.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton has gently rebuked international reggae artiste Buju Banton, who criticised the government for its mask-wearing protocol in the fight against COVID-19.

“As it relates to the public pronouncements by individuals, and in some instances by popular personalities, around not wearing masks, our position is very clear.

“The public health position is that mask wearing in public is useful, it is an important part of the response to COVID and to restricting the spread of the virus,” Tufton said Thursday during the weekly COVID-19 virtual press conference.

The minister was responding to a call by the reggae singer to end the wearing of masks in Jamaica, claiming the protective gear will not prevent persons from contracting the coronavirus.

The 'Gargamel' in his rant posted to social media Wednesday said, “well someone sight I and ask I if everything alright. I tell the bredrin 'No; everything nuh alright and everything can't alright. We want done with this mask wearing f%@¥£€ inna Jamaica. Who fi dead ago dead and who nah go dead haffi just live’.

“We tired ah you intellectual fools trying to tell us how to live our lives. If you’re so smart why you haven’t found the cure for cancer. You all touting a line and putting the Jamaican people in abject fear and driving all to poverty,” Banton argued.

However, Tufton noted that mask wearing has been sanctioned by a number of international bodies with leaders of countries around the world adopting the measure to protect their citizens from the pandemic.

“This is a clinical position that is not only endorsed, advanced and supported by us here in Jamaica, but by most countries throughout the world, I would say all countries.

“I don’t know of a country in the world that it is preaching or suggesting otherwise and certainly in terms of the multilateral partners in public health, the World Health Organisations, the Pan American Health Organisation all have advanced as a policy, encouraged, prescribed that mask wearing in public should be a practice,” Tufton said.

He said that while there has been some uncertainty regarding the enforcement mechanisms regarding the wearing of masks in Jamaica, the government is seeking to make the penalties more specific. He said Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte and Justice Minister Delroy Chuck are currently working on that.

“We are very confident that it is the right thing to do and we certainly would encourage Jamaicans to comply and this is why this is part of the law, as contained in the orders and we will continue to push that message because we think it is the right thing to do,” Tufton said.

Jamaica is in the community transmission phase of COVID-19 with over 8,500 infections and 179 deaths.

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