Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has warned that the enforcement of the Disaster Risk Management Act will be intensified as persons continue to attempt to find new ways to host and attend events in breach of the law.
“Just last weekend, there was an incident in Negril in which a party vessel capsized with many patrons aboard who were attending a floating party, and the video of the event and the incident has been widely shared. While we are relieved that there were no injuries or deaths reported, the fact is that all entertainment events are prohibited by Order. I have noted that the Westmoreland police are investigating the matter, and the fact is that all who organized this event, including the owners and managers of the vessel, and those who attended it are liable for prosecution. Earlier this year, all Cays were closed to entertainment events, as persons tried to find creative ways to host illegal parties. It is clear that there are people who are determined to devise any means possible to do what they know is illegal and stage entertainment events. The Ministry, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and the police are even more determined to interrupt these activities and prosecute those who promote their own interest over that of public health and safety.
“I cannot ask too often for our citizens and visitors to obey the law. I also wish to remind the public that now that the Disaster Risk Management Act has been amended, these offences attract specific fines, as well as a maximum fine of J$1 million and a maximum of one year in prison on conviction in the courts. The police are also no longer required to warn offenders before prosecuting them.
I therefore urge everyone to do the right thing, obey the law and safeguard your health and your life, as we manage COVID-19.”