Entertainment players to meet with Desmond McKenzie today

February 19, 2021

Some members of the entertainment fraternity have been invited to a virtual meeting scheduled for noon today with Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie.

At a virtual Reggae Month University Symposium on Tuesday, Entertainment Minister Olivia Grange, in detailing the grants which have been provided for creatives, noted that "These are trying times for the industry. The peanut man is hurting, and we are sensitive to the fact that the entire industry is suffering."

Grange disclosed that McKenzie had called a meeting with the players, but pointed out that the director general of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, under the Disaster Risk Management Act, would have to be part of that, as well as the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW). Without going into any details, she cautiously mentioned a reopening of the sector "incrementally".

Kamal Bankay, a member of the Entertainment Advisory Board and chairman of Dream Entertainment, Carnival in Jamaica, and the Sports and Entertainment Network in the Ministry of Tourism, confirmed that he would be one of the attendees at the meeting. But he told THE WEEKEND STAR that he was unable to say any more.

"Honestly, I don't know who else has been invited and I also have not received an agenda," he said. His is one of several voices calling for the restoration of the events industry in a limited and controlled way.

Find solutions

Some members of the fraternity, when contacted by THE WEEKEND STAR, said they knew nothing about the meeting. However, another invited guest explained why this was so.

"We are trying to find solutions. The virus is still here. It has not gone anywhere. We want the sector to reopen, so we are targeting individual people who can give us a good idea of what can happen," the person said.

On February 5, Grange signalled the finalisation of arrangements for the safe reopening of sport in Jamaica and promised that "we continue to work on protocols for the safe reopening of the wider entertainment sector".

However, by the following day, the MOHW confirmed that the island had experienced a spike in new COVID-19 infections, with the main entertainment locations of the Corporate Area and St James registering 70 and 53 of the new infections, respectively.

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