Golding slams Government’s handling of entertainment sector

PETERSFIELD, Westmoreland — Opposition Leader Mark Golding says he does not subscribe to claims by the Government that it was not aware of the Mocha Fest party which was staged at the Rick’s Caf in Negril on Thursday night in clear breach of the Government’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

The event, which is in its sixth year after a postponement in 2020, was advertised on the Jamaica Tourist Board’s (JTB) website up to May 27. It was later disabled following an uproar from social media users and the general public.

However, Golding, who was speaking with the Jamaica Observer here yesterday, said the Government has been left with its proverbial face in a mess.

“I think that the Government has some eggs on its face over it because they are pretending they didn’t know about it. That’s rubbish because there is very little going on. So, a major event like that in Negril must have been known to the Government,” stated the People’s National Party (PNP) leader.

The general public and stakeholders in the entertainment industry are claiming that the event was in breach of restrictions placed on the hosting of entertainment events which suggest a double standard in how certain categories of people are treated.

“The truth is that they (Government) have been quietly trying to facilitate the tourism industry which I understand, but I think that the way that entertainment events have been treated locally and affecting our Jamaican people versus foreigners is just not right. We can’t have the law pickled with this double standard.”

Golding further expounded on what he said was the lack of equal treatment under the law.

“The entertainment industry that provides a living has been shut down effectively because of over a year of curfews and so on. People have lost their livelihoods, people had to migrate, it has been very disruptive. Then you see that foreigners can come here and party to their hearts content in complete violation of any form of social distancing and so on,” stated Golding.

“And, I am not criticising the promoters, but I do think that it is symptomatic of the way in which the Government of the day has failed to ensure equity in the application and enforcement of these laws because the youths on the corner, [and] youths on the streets are being held, arrested and charged for breaching the Disaster Risk Management Act orders and in their own land, the land of their birth and then foreigners can come here and do the exact same thing without any problems whatsoever,” stated the Opposition leader.

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