Monday 10 August, 2020

Government reconsiders reopening of entertainment sector

The Government of Jamaica is reconsidering the reopening of the local entertainment sector, in light of information in the public about the operation of several entities.

“On Thursday, July 2 we met with the entertainment sector here at the Ministry to look at how we will deal with the possible reopening of the sector. We discussed, at length, what are the options that are available for the Government to consider,” said Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie.

“Those meetings were very successful and we will continue those discussions come next week Thursday (July 9), but under the present condition that we are now facing, it is clear that Government will have to reconsider the reopening of the entertainment sector under these present circumstances, because what we are seeing is only courting danger and we cannot afford, as a country, to lose the gains that we have made in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic in Jamaica,” he said.

The Minister was speaking at a press conference, held at the Ministry, in Kingston, where he addressed breaches by several entertainment entities that have been circulating on social media.

Discussions for the reopening of the entertainment sector involved key players, including promoters, sound system operators and persons representing theatres, along with representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and the local authorities.

“We have noticed advertisements being placed on Instagram and other social media pages advising persons of the opening of entertainment facilities in Portmore. I want to make it quite clear that there is no order that permits the operations of such entities that offer rides and that sort of a facility anywhere in Jamaica,” the minister said.

“Entertainment, as it stands, is still on the banned list of activities that are [not] to take place across the country. I have advised the Commissioner of Police of these occasions and I have spoken with the Mayor of Portmore and have asked for his intervention in this matter,” Mr McKenzie added.

He also shared that instructions were given to Municipal Corporations last Friday (July 3), to monitor the operations of entities in their jurisdictions to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.

“All we are asking persons to do is to comply with the stipulation. So, if you are allowed to open, operate within guidelines. The discussions have gone a far way and it would be disappointing that persons, for their own selfish means, would want to derail them in regard to the entertainment industry,” the Minister said.

“I want to appeal to Jamaicans to let us consider our brothers and sisters. We can’t be selfish in this pursuit. While I understand that there are many livelihoods that are affected by their actions, it is not just the livelihood that is important; it is the lives that are important. Please understand and let us work together,” implored Mr. McKenzie.

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