Party promoters want equal treatment from cops | Entertainment

Event promoters in Clarendon believe that the police and the Government have not been equal in how they deal with some persons in relation to COVID-19 breaches.

“We want equity. We are tired to see the blatant double standards,” said Denton Atkins, president of the Clarendon Promoters Association, who led a demonstration outside the May Pen Police Station in the parish yesterday. Atkins said that it appears as if authorities have forgotten that members of the entertainment sector have families to feed.

“The selective application of the rule of law [is] not fair. We are seeing blatantly, seeing where our country has been divided into at least three different sectors and one sector is being treated totally different than the other,” he said. According to the police, on Sunday May 23, some 200 people were at an illegal party in May Pen.

Sparked national outrage

Forty-eight of them have since been charged and are now before the court for breaches under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA). Atkins chided the arrests of the party enthusiasts as unfair, referencing the recently held Mocha Festival in Negril which has sparked national outrage.

“Recently we would have seen Rick’s Cafe in the media with a host of parties on the Negril strip and at one sitting at least 40-odd local promoters were trucked in for doing exactly the same thing in Negril, and to date I have not seen in the media where anybody in Negril was arrested. The most I’ve seen is that there will be a meeting,” he said. “We are tired to see the blatant double standard. We have superstars, even athletes who hosted parties during COVID and nothing from it. We understand what is happening with COVID-19 but the law must serve everybody.”

Assistant Superintendent Udine Downy of the Clarendon Police Division, who was on hand to disperse the gathering, contended that the division is no playground for lawlessness.

“The Clarendon division has adopted a zero-tolerance approach to any breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Act. Their contention is that parties are being held in several other divisions islandwide, but we are here to tell them that we are in charge of this division in Clarendon and law and order will always be maintained in the Clarendon division,” she said.

Downy noted that since the May Pen event, the police have intercepted smaller parties. She implored event organisers to comply with rules under the DRMA and the Noise Abatement Act.

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