I was pleased to read in the press that "MoBay Nite Out" is to return to the Second City, according to Mayor Harris. However, I do remember that it was started in the 1990s and it was allegedly stopped in the wake of complaints from some hoteliers about the "blocking of the road".
Mayor Harris stressed that "apart from its entertainment value the event will provide economic opportunities for many local vendors when it returns to the hip strip". Aren't the "local vendors" he's talking about illegal? I assume he means the street vendors. Does the council have a structured plan to make this venture a civic and cultural tourism enterprise and not just another craft bazaar with cheap art and dancehall in the background in some spots and mento at others?
I would honestly love to see a rich cultural product that engages creative local artists and artistes, of high quality, not just the "same old same old" bead and chains with generic paintings. I am dreaming of seeing productive cultural exchange and interaction, and less of the pimping, sex-selling and sex-driven atmosphere.
Don't get me wrong. I think it's probably a good idea, but they need to resolve the problems that were initially at issue, and cater to a modern city that wants and requires better, bolder more creative tourism products that actually incorporate Jamaicans in an economic and cultural way, and not another Brand Jamaica product re-ignited by Jamaica 50 fervour, that is co-opted by some multinational or big local corporate entity.
Lastly I hope that the complaints and concerns of the "legal", tax-paying hoteliers and businesses that occupy the strip will be addressed before the event is restarted.
Yannick Nesta Pessoa