Jamaica’s Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie says the entertainment sector will be under heavy surveillance following a report that there have been some 600 illegal parties held in less than a month.
Speaking at a special meeting of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation on July 8, Minister McKenzie said there have been widespread breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Act by industry players since Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced special measures for the reopening of the sector at the end of June.
He informed that based on assessments, some 600 illegal parties have been held across the island since the announced measures.
He reminded sector players that permits are required to stage entertainment events, noting that it is in their best interest to ensure full compliance with the protocols.
“Anyone who puts on an event without a permit is in violation of the law. We cannot allow a few undisciplined people to derail an industry which is critical to a number of persons,” he noted.
The Minister said the Government will better monitor activities within the entertainment sector and clamp down on infractions where necessary.
“So, we are going to ramp up the monitoring over the next two to three weeks, because the Municipal Corporations have been receiving applications and they have been granting approvals. We are going to put more boots on the ground and we are going to ensure that the restrictions that were eased based on the Prime Minister’s announcement, that this is not abused by the sector,” he said.
He pointed out that the entertainment sector has been one of the hardest hit since March last year, and failure to comply with the prescribed protocols will force the Government to take strong action.
“Anything that was announced in Parliament goes up until the 10th of August, so what it means is that if we are not convinced, then action can be taken, even before the 10th of August,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Mr. McKenzie said that talks will be held with funeral home operators, as there are reports that some are in breach of the protocols.
He explained that the Government wants face-to-face classes to resume in September, and therefore it is important that COVID-19 cases are not allowed to spike.