MoBay will be safe for Sumfest - Police
Although the ongoing state of public emergency (SOE) in St James will remain in place, patrons going to the 2018 staging of Reggae Sumfest will not be impacted because they, too, are expected to benefit from the security measures amended to ensure a safe festival.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Ealan Powell, who is responsible for the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) side of the SOE in St James, told THE WEEKEND STAR that he is anticipating a hassle-free Reggae Sumfest based on the amended security measures that will be put in place to ensure the safety of patrons.
"We have put some amended security measures in place to meet the show and these measures will be made public at the right time, which will be sometime before the start of the event," said Powell. "I can tell you that during the week of Reggae Sumfest, persons will be able to travel to and from the event without fear."
Since the state of emergency was declared in St James in January, several volatile communities like Flankers, the home community of dancehall star Tommy Lee Sparta; and Glendevon, where fellow stars TeeJay and Rygin King hails from, have been transformed into ghost towns after dark, due to curfews that form a part of the state of emergency.
Businessman Robert Russell, the deputy chairman of Summerfest Productions, said that he is aware of these amended security measures and is satisfied that it will work to the benefit of the patrons.
"We attended the meeting with the security forces when it was discussed and decided on," said Russell. "I can tell you that the amended security measures for Reggae Sumfest have met our approval, and we are happy about it."
Russell added that Reggae Sumfest has always been a safe event for patrons, and he believes that with the additional security measures safety should not emerge as an issue this year.
"We have never had a major incident with someone coming to Sumfest, and this year it will even be better because Montego Bay is now the safest city in the Caribbean," Russell said. "The enhanced security is just to make people feel more comfortable. When you hear the amended security measures announced, it should answer all questions and concerns."