Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has announced that well-known entertainment venue Rick’s Cafe in western Jamaica, has been closed after hosting a party
that breached the Orders under the Disaster Risk Management Act.
“Under the powers available to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, Rick’s Cafe is now closed for seven days. The police and the ODPEM monitoring team will ensure that
the closure Order is enforced, and the management of Rick’s Cafe has been summoned to a meeting with the Ministry and ODPEM for Monday. While we note the apologies offered by the entity. It is well
known that entertainment activities of this type have been banned by Order since March last year, when COVID-19 arrived in the country.
The Westmoreland Municipal Corporation did not permit this event to occur, and indeed, no Municipal Corporation has issued permits for events since last year.
“Other arms of Government are also taking action in response to this violation, which has caused outrage and evoked feeling of biased and differential application of the law. I want to make it clear that no
preferential treatment is being given by the Government. This Administration does not and will not facilitate any form of inequity or division in the application of the law, and violators have been and will be
prosecuted. There are no two Jamaicas. The police are dealing with this incident, which has been captured on video, and I wish to remind everyone that these breaches carry significant fines, which include
the maximum $1 million and up to a year in prison on conviction. I want to thank all the people who continue to report the breaches as they occur and encourage them to keep informing us.”
Minister McKenzie said while the Government is resolute about protecting public health, it is not unmindful of the economic impact of the pandemic on all levels of the entertainment sector. “We do
understand the pain from the fallout. We are not indifferent to the sacrifices made by people in the sector and by those who depend on them. I have been meeting with representatives of the sector,
and very shortly, the Most Honourable Prime Minister will be having consultations with them as well. I call for good sense to prevail, as we must navigate this pandemic in a way that ensures our
collective survival and recovery.”