‘Give us a break’, promoters plead

December 16, 2021
Patrons at a staging of Uptown Mondays held earlier this year.
Patrons at a staging of Uptown Mondays held earlier this year.

Several promoters are pleading with the Government to work with the dancehall fraternity to find a way forward for events to be held.

"We, all the promoters, need a break to make a little money for our family and friends. Give us a break and we want to comply with the rules because our aim is not to go against the Government but at the same time so many people depend on the parties for income," Uptown Mondays principal Whitfield 'Witty' Henry told THE STAR, regarding news that no parties would be allowed for the Christmas season.

Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie said Jamaica is still battling a public health emergency and even though the number of persons testing positive for COVID-19 has decreased, "we cannot afford to be reckless in this effort."

"I therefore appeal to everyone to be responsible and to remember that after Christmas comes the new year, and we want the new year to continue on a path of improvement so that Jamaicans can continue the process of returning to a normal way of life," McKenzie told Parliament on Tuesday.

Henry said that while he agrees with some of McKenzie's points "We can't and still won't be able to pay the light bill for our children to stay home for virtual school. So, the promoters and the Government need to be on par." McKenzie also said that persons who breach the Disaster Risk Management Act will be charged.

"But I'm broke now! I had a couple millions in my savings but I gotta be paying bills and although my seven children are grown people, your children are always your children. The grandchildren now, they are included in your expenses as a grandfather," Henry said. "I don't know why they bother extend the curfew and then say no permit. I'm pleading, just help us make some money, it only takes a small break and people can still be compliant while gathering."

Meanwhile Careem Mullings, co-promoter of Mojito Mondays, said he had already ruled out the possibilities of parties happening.

"Our focus has shifted to business and will have engagements but they won't be called parties, not like Mojito Mondays," he said. Mullings noted that flyers are circulating that promote dancehall events and highlighted reports about several street dances being held in inner-city communities.

"The entertainment sector employs and feeds a lot of families and we know some will be able to proceed regardless of 'no permits being issued' announcement," he said. He noted that while he does not live in the inner city, some of his staff do and they have families to feed. He reasoned that if the authorities go easy with the dances, then "dancehall, as much as it has its implications, will have its positives for some families."

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