Promoter suggests new strategy to stage live events
Noted promoter Kamal Bankay is today suggesting that an on-again, off-again method could have handed the entertainment sector the lifeline it so desperately needed after being halted by COVID-19.
"The Government should have put an on- and off-again strategy in place to have the legal event operators, the ones who are willing to follow protocols ... to operate in a time- base scenario. For the entire 12 months that we have been dealing with this pandemic, we should have been turning on the tap and turning it back off, do events for a period of time and then stop it,' ease and breeze'," he said. "If we were able to do that, we would have given pockets of earnings to persons who are the most affected, and the most affected constituents of the pandemic in Jamaica are from the live-events sector. With that on/off-again strategy, something would have been better than nothing."
Bankay said that a complete shutdown of the sector has only resulted in persons opting to go the illegal route. While not condoning their actions, he said that he understood that illegal events were happening "because 'people affi live'".
"Short term for a man who works on a daily wage is a day. Short term for a man who works on a monthly salary is a month, and so it's all about perspective. When we can say, well we are going to have to wait X amount of months to do this or that, persons are at different stages of their lives. Their needs are different. They have families to take care of and bills to pay, and live events were their only source of income," he explained. "My stance, therefore, has always been that we can't have 1,000 events every weekend, because we can't regulate it. And so we must decide on a number. Regulate what we can and allow the persons who want to host legal events to operate within a very strict confine."
Bankay said that he has not seen any data that point to an event causing a spike in COVID cases.
"The Government has been doing contact tracing from the start and they can trace positive patients to what they have been doing and where they have been going, and I have seen no data produced to say that numbers are rising because of a superspreader party," Bankay continued. "Maybe the data is there and it hasn't been announced yet, but I haven't seen it. But we are at 100 per cent hospital capacity and, once more, we can't even consider hosting events. So this is all just food for thought when we turn the corner on this again."