Jamaica rejects promoters lobby for Christmas ‘bashments’

Local entertainment promoters and nightclubs would do well to note the decision of Prime Minister Andrew Holness’s administration in Jamaica which is widely regarded as the Caribbean capital of entertainment, to retain an existing ban on such public events during the Christmas Season.

An article published in last Wednesday’s issue of the Jamaica Gleaner stated that the decision to keep the lid on Christmas ‘bashments’ would have had an impact “the new hopes of entertainment promoters aiming to recover one-year losses in the run up to Christmas. ”The decision that Gleaner said,“ despite vigorous backroom discussions by several stakeholders, ”appeared to have been taken against a backdrop of official concerns about COVID-19 infections that are continually climbing in Jamaica. Up to last Monday, the Jamaican COVID-19 death rate was 243 while the number of infections reached 10,422.

Event promoters on the island appear to have been somewhat pushed back to Prime Minister Holness’ urging that Jamaicans “celebrate Christmas and New Year at home” with one of the country’s high profile promoters complained about the fact that “restrictions in the run up to Christmas and New Year would exacerbate the financial crisis that has plagued the entertainment industry since March. ”However, according to the Gleaner, the Holness decision would have won the support of the President of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), Richard Pandohie.

Here in Guyana where, weeks ago, the government extended nighttime activities by changing the curfew hour to 10:30 pm, there has been no official word on the issue of whether the usual seasonal evening entertainment events will have allow them throughout. the season. So far there has been a noticeable absence of any aggressive marketing from the usual seasonal entertainment events, above all traditional Old Year’s Eve parties that often extend into the next day. When Stabroek Business spoke to a local entertainment promoter on Wednesday, he said he was unaware of whether the issue of further reducing curfew hours for a limited period was ‘on the cards or not’, noting that the rate of increase would increase the number of cases coronavirus deaths almost certainly militate against such a decision. “In fact, it would not surprise me, even before Christmas, that the curfew hour at night is being withdrawn,” he told this newspaper.

Even now, relationships are strained between sections of the local entertainment industry, Private Sector Commission (PSC) Chairman Nicholas Boyer, and the country’s COVID Task Force, over a Nov. 22 warning letter sent to popular Palm Court Restaurant about a curfew . The grounds for the PSC’s protest appear to be that such warnings may not have been issued to other entertainment houses that also violate existing COVID-19 protocols. The Task Force has sent alerts to 42 places.

Entertainment organizations here and in Jamaica have been lobbying to reduce curfew hours on the grounds that the prolonged bondage associated with COVID-19 has had a serious financial rebound on the entertainment industry, and timely releases should be given more careful consideration . of the shackles.