More than 700 entertainment events staged without permission since sector reopened from COVID lockdown

Kamal Bankay, a member of the Entertainment Advisory Board
The Ministry of Local Government has revealed that more than 700 events have been staged without permission since the entertainment sector was reopened two weeks ago with strict COVID-19 protocols.
Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie has called entertainment industry players to an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss what he described as the glaring and sustained breaches of COVID-19 protocols.
The breaches come against the background of rising COVID-19 cases, with almost 100 cases reported in the last two weeks.
The Local Government Ministry said the Holness administration is very concerned about the public health implications and effects of what it says is the unconscionable behaviour being seen islandwide.
It said a decision will be made on the way forward following Wednesday's meeting.
The ministry disclosed that its surveys show that more than 700 events have been staged without any permission being sought.
It said in other instances where approvals for events were given, the agreed conditions were blatantly breached. 
The ministry also indicated concern about the continued misuse of beaches and rivers which are being overcrowded, in clear breach of social distancing protocols. 
It has noted in particular that parties and other events are being held at various beaches and rivers although such events are banned at these locations.
It said the Jamaica Constabulary Force is being stretched in responding to these breaches.
The local government minister said the administration will not allow the gains made in the management of COVID-19 to be destroyed by people who have no regard for anyone's interest but theirs.
Mr. McKenzie said there is no guarantee the relaxations granted to the entertainment sector up to this point will remain. 
Kamal Bankay, a member of the Entertainment Advisory Board, said he has been appealing to members of the industry to obey COVID-19 protocols.
He said while he has not seen the report from the Local Government Ministry, he has been invited to Wednesday's meeting and is "looking forward to the fulsome discussion." 
"I'm completely in support of the enforcement of permits and going through the legal processes for all events that are to happen, so that has to be something that has to be upheld," he said.  

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