Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie has announced that no spectators will be allowed at the upcoming cricket or schoolboy football matches in the sporting calendar.

In a release issued earlier today, he said the matches include the white-ball one-day and T-20 international matches between the West Indies and Ireland, scheduled for January 8-16 at Sabina Park, and the semi-final rounds of Manning and DaCosta Cup matches.

Our multi Ministry and Agency Committee, involving the Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development, Health and Wellness and Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, received submissions from the Jamaica Cricket Association and the Inter-Secondary Schools Association, respectively, for a limited number of spectators to attend these games. Most regrettably, in light of the rising positivity rate and the threat of the Omicron variant, it is not possible to accommodate this request. At this point, it is simply not practical to give the green light for public access to these games.

“However, there are other sporting events for which ISSA, the Jamaica Football Federation and the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association have made submissions, and we will be meeting with these bodies to consider these applications. As we continue to manage the pandemic and to monitor the situation on a daily basis, I want to commend the sporting Associations, and in particular ISSA, for its excellent management of its events and the consistent application of the COVID-19 protocols at the various matches.

The Government will exercise flexibility as the situation changes, as the role and impact of sport on social well-being, social development and on the local economies of communities is fully acknowledged.

This Administration will facilitate the return of spectator participation in sport in the safest way possible, in the shortest possible time.”