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Minister of Local Government Calls Meeting with Entertainment Industry Players

Minister of Local Government and Community Development Hon. Desmond McKenzie has called an emergency meeting of stakeholders in the entertainment sector for tomorrow, Wednesday August 5 at the Ministry, to discuss glaring and sustained breaches of the agreed conditions and protocols governing events and other gatherings.

This disregard for the rules is happening at and through numerous events being held all over the country. Our surveys show that over 700 events have been staged without any permission being sought. In other instances where approvals for events were given, the agreed conditions were blatantly breached. The Jamaica Constabulary Force is being stretched in responding to these breaches, and it is completely unfair to our policemen and women who are simultaneously dealing with everything from traffic violations to violent crime.

“I am also very concerned about the continued misuse of our beaches and rivers. The surveys have revealed that they are being overcrowded, in clear breach of the social distancing protocols. Little Dunn’s River, Spanish River and Little Ochi are just a few of the venues at which the overcrowding is occurring. Additionally, parties and other events are being held at various beaches and rivers, in clear violation of the stipulations that govern their reopening. Parties and tournaments are banned at beaches and rivers.

“The Government is very concerned about the public health implications and effects of the unconscionable behaviour that is being seen island-wide. I wish to make it clear that this Administration will not allow the gains made in the management of COVID-19 to be destroyed by people who have absolutely no regard for anyone’s interest but theirs.

“Accordingly, the Agenda for tomorrow’s meeting will involve a review of this completely unacceptable situation, and a decision about the way forward. The Government has been steadily working to restore economic and social life, but not at any price. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the relaxations granted to this point will remain. Actions have consequences, and I want to make it clear that we are determined to use the policy and legal tools available to ensure behaviour change in this time of public health emergency.”