‘We really have to thank Joe’ - MoBay vendors exhale as Sumfest lifts state of emergency bondage
Downsound Record's CEO Joe Bogdanovich is currently getting real love from numerous street vendors in Montego Bay, St James, who are praising him for the Reggae Sumfest events.
Te vendors say the weeklong festival, which began on Monday, is giving them a most welcomed break from the ongoing state of public emergency (SOE), which has been negatively impacting their earning capacity, especially at nights.
"Me personally have to thank Joe because since dem lock down the place with the SOE we caa mek no money," said soup vendor Dwayne 'Sugar' Senior, who normally operates along Jimmy Cliff Boulevard.
"Me really thankful to Joe for getting us this little one-week break."
Happy for the opportunity to play catch-up, free from the SOE restrictions, which have been in place since January, scores of vendors, to include persons selling art and craft, soup, a variety of Jamaican foods, roots and even items of clothing, descended on Montego Bay's Old Hospital Park on Monday night for the Reggae Sumfest 'Street Dance,' which attracted a massive crowd.
Marline, whose stall was chock-full of colourful trinkets and craft items, was glad for the opportunity to sell her goods late at night.
"I am getting good support from the tourists. They seem to like the red, green and gold items and the things in the Jamaica colours," said Marline. "We really have to thank Joe, he is like a Jamaica 'Joe Grind,' who is always there to look out for you when nuthin nah gwaan.
"This is both my back to school and early Christmas because I have been suffering under the oppressive state of emergency," added Marline.
The vendors were not the only persons thankful to the Downsound boss for helping to 'free up' Montego Bay for the 2019 Sumfest week. Many of the thousands of patrons who jam-packed the Old Hospital car park said it was the first time they were getting an opportunity to really party since the SOE was declared in January.
With St James under the ongoing state of emergency, downtown Montego Bay, where Reggae Sumfest is being held, has been designated a special entertainment zone, which in effect means extended opening hours for businesses and the relaxing of a curfew that has been imposed.
"A long time me nuh touch road a night so me personally glad seh Joe lift the bondage offa we even for a few days," said Gully Man, a long-standing dancehall fan. "Me understand why dem have de emergency but trust me, it tek away all a de fun from Montego Bay, especially for ordinary people like we."
One set of vendors, who also relish the Sumfest opportunity to advertise their product, were the members of the Roots House entity, one of the organisations licensed to sell ganja legally in Jamaica. According to FirstMan, the CEO at Rastafari Indigenous Village, he is thrilled to see ganja being recognised alongside reggae music in the public space.
"We are pleased to see ganja and reggae being highlighted in the same space. This is a way to expose our culture without any limitations ... finally we now have reggae in ganja and ganja in reggae," noted FirstMan.