Holness promises money for entertainers
Entertainers and other players in the industry are set to receive COVID-19 money from the Government amid the continued lockdown of the sector.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, speaking in the House of Representatives yesterday, made the revelation as he again, for the umpteenth time, announced that parties and events would remain under lockdown as part of the country's COVID-19 measures.
"We understand the hurt and suffering. Many have lost significant resources, so we are going to have to make an allocation," Holness said. "I do plan to call in the leaders of the industry ... We want to have an engagement because we see our music and our culture as a part of our economic recovery."
The entertainment sector has been in lockdown for almost a year and health authorities have deemed events such as parties, concerts and round robins as fertile ground for the spread of COVID-19. The ban on these events will continue at least until May 4.
Plan for reopening
Holness said that his Government recognises entertainment as a business in which people have invested heavily. However, he said that the gatherings are "usually the ground zero of spreads". The prime minister said that he is looking at measures used in other countries, such as New Zealand, to enable the holding of entertainment events. He told entertainment stakeholders to use the time to plan for reopening their businesses, which he said would see significant boom when restrictions are lifted.
"When the lockdown is over, I don't think you going to have hands to manage parties and concerts and just people having fun," Holness said. He told parliamentarians that the Government would be playing its role in the rebound of the entertainment sector by investing in things such as venues.
"This Government will invest in dancehall. We will invest in the music and we will invest in the hall," the prime minister said, adding that part of the approach will be the creation of venues where people can party from dusk 'til dawn without disturbing others.
"Dancehall is being hijacked. Other people are taking our music and making more money off it because the people who are carrying the music not seeing the economic value in the music," Holness added.