Partygoers ignore storm warning

August 03, 2016
Senator Ruel Reid
File: A small section of the type of large crowds that are usually seen at Chug It.
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Despite an advisory recommending the postponement of all mass events island-wide, several events across the Corporate Area were still in full swing even as Tropical Storm Earl edged closer to the island on Monday night.

During a joint press conference held at the Office of the Prime Minister on Monday, Senator Ruel Reid said, "Subject to the tropical storm watch currently in effect for Jamaica, it is now recommended that all mass event currently underway and those planned for tomorrow, Tuesday August 2, 2016, through Wednesday afternoon, August 3, 2016, be postponed."

Although the warning was issued and many persons ran to supermarket to get storm supplies, the highly-anticipated beach party, Chug It, scheduled for Sugarman's Beach in Portmore, St Catherine, was still held despite the late start.

Even as the wind speed picked up and the sky darkened around the venue partygoers seemed unbothered by the pending storm. At 7 p.m. persons were still streaming into the venue.

One female patron even declared very boldly that she lives in a country where partying takes priority over everything else.

"A Jamaica dis enuh, and a party we say. No storm can't stop we from come out and enjoy wiself," she said.

Another female patron told the STAR that she was unaware of the storm approaching and was only out to have fun.

"Mi just come out fi enjoy myself and go home back. Besides, we deh pon di beach so if rain start fall a nuh nothing, is a water party," she said.

were unsuccessful

THE STAR then sought to get a comment from the promoters of the event promoters but we were unsuccessful in our efforts. One of the organisers went as far as to state that he would have the STAR team escorted out of the venue if we continued to probe the issue.

He refused to comment on whether he was aware of Tropical Storm Earl and got aggressive when asked about the Minister's advisory and why he did not cancel his event. He also refused to state whether emergency measures were put in place should weather conditions worsen.

The plugs were eventually pulled on the event minutes to 9 p.m. although guest artistes Tifa and Aidonia did not perform. This led to patrons demanding a refund.

Senior Superintendent of Police Noel Christie, head of St Catherine South, said that the event was not shutdown on the insistence of the police. Rather, he said that it was the organisers who took the initiative to call it an early night.

A stone's throw away from where Chug It was being held, another event was also in full swing at Fort Clarence Beach.

Like Chug It, it was business as usual at the CUJ Gosplash event. Although patrons turned out in their numbers, it, too, came to a premature end as officers ordered an end to the event again leaving patrons disappointed.

International gospel artiste Deitrick Haddon, who was the show's main act, as well as the other entertainers on the line-up did not get to perform.

The Montego Bay Jerk Festival was also held at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre despite the storm warning. And dancehall artiste Chi Ching Ching also went staged a successful anniversary for Hanging Mondays in Stony Hill, St Andrew.

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