Vaz Blasts Govt over Zika Preparations

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West Portland MP, the JLP’s Daryl Vaz, is accusing the government of attempting to deceive Jamaicans about the country’s state of preparedness for the feared Zika-Virus.

Mr. Vaz says Health Minister, Horace Dalley, has grossly understated the amount of money required for Jamaica to prepare for the virus.

On Saturday the Health Ministry confirmed that Jamaica has registered its first case of Zika.

Addressing a Jamaica House Media briefing on January 20 – Minister Dalley said $200-million was needed to prepare for Zik-V.

Speaking at a JLP mass rally in Spanish Town last night, Vaz made reference to a document made public last week by the Office of the Prime Minister, OPM.

The document prepared by Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Marion Bullock Duccasse, appeared to contradict Minister Dalley regarding how much money is needed to get ready for Zik-V. Vaz is demanding answers.

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An angry Vaz noted that two days before he addressed the media and said the Government had done all that’s humanly possible to get ready for Zika – Duccasse had told Minister Dalley that over half-a-billion dollars is needed urgently for activities including training and purchasing of motor vehicles to aid the Zik-V fight.

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Mr. Vaz told the JLP meeting that moments after the Chief Medical Officer’s request for urgent funds to assist in getting ready for Zik-V was issued by the OPM, Jamaica House asked that the document not be published.

He accused the Simpson Miller administration of attempting to hide crucial information from the people.

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Calls placed today to Minister Dalley today were not answered.

The Health Minister was to have addressed a media briefing this morning. It has been postponed until tomorrow.

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Abka Fitz-Henley is a multiple award-winning journalist who is currently the Senior Reporter at Nationwide News Network (NNN). His primary areas of focus are Court, Crime and Parliamentary proceedings. Fitz-Henley was recently recognized in the regional celebrity magazine publication Panache as “The Breaking News Boss”. At 21 years of age, following his 1st year in media, Fitz-Henley was recognized with the Young Journalist of the year award from The Press Association of Jamaica and went on to cop one of the country’s highest recognized journalism prizes, the Journalist of the Year Award. He’s also been awarded the prestigious Corporate Jamaica Broilers Fairplay 1st place Award for investigative journalism and is the recipient of the Caribbean Blog Award for coverage of the infamous Kartel murder trial. Fitz-Henley is also the recipient of the PM Youth Award for Excellence. Over the years, he has appeared as a guest on the BBC World Service and BBC London.