'We are killing our own selves for the sake of money'

'We are killing our own selves for the sake of money'

Councillors worry about virus spread with nightclubs open, parties and funerals

Observer staff reporter

Friday, January 15, 2021

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Mayor of Mandeville and chairman of the Manchester Municipal Corporation Donovan Mitchell alleged yesterday that the police have been providing security at nightclubs which should be closed under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA).

He also claimed that several residents were hosting parties contrary to the DRMA legislation to help slow spread of the novel coronavirus. The situation is that people are keeping some of these parties at places where you don't see any vehicles, but the parties are going on,” the mayor told yesterday's monthly meeting of the local municipality.

When contacted by telephone, head of the Manchester police Superintendent Gary Francis told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that he had not been aware of the allegation of police doing security work at nightclubs, but promised to commence investigations into the claim.

Mitchell said he recently received the complaints. “On Monday I got two reports of how many people are in these nightclubs. The problem is [according to the complaints] it is police officers who are the security personnel at the entrance of the clubs, so the police are not helping us in this regard either. It is one of the problems that we are faced with that we are killing our own selves for the sake of money,” he added.

Earlier this week the health minister expressed concern about the growing number of coronavirus cases in Manchester.

Said the mayor:“We are killing ourselves, our neighbours, our families for the sake of money… It is the responsibility of the police [to ensure the law is upheld],” he said.

Councillor for the Grove Town Division in south Manchester, Iceval Brown, also expressed concerns about illegal entertainment events in that area.

“I have never seen so many parties in my life in the Grove Town Division [and] in this pandemic. Something has to be done with these parties. When I drive through the division, [at] some areas there are three parties next door to each other, [with] people all over and no masks,” she said.

Medical officer of health for Manchester, Dr Nadine Williams, disclosed that the parish has continued to see imported coronavirus cases.

“In terms of the quarantining for travellers, it is a concern for us as well, especially over the Christmas holidays. We had an increase in travellers, daily, entering the country and it was really not possible for us to monitor all of them,” she said.

Councillor for the Craig Head Division Omar Miller also raised concerns about visitors breaking the 14-day quarantine order. “I realise that in my division there are visitors who come into the island, whether to bury the dead or any other function, and when you ask them how many days they will be here [you are told] a week or less,” Miller told the meeting.

And councillor for the John's Hall Division Faith Sampson told the monthly meeting that funerals should be allowed to be kept in churches because of the large crowds at burial grounds, despite Government's rule limiting the number of people at burial sites to 15, including the clergy.

“I'm suggesting that we bring on board the ministers of religion and the funeral directors to assist us in crowd control, because what is happening now it cannot continue. The funerals are bigger than usual, because they are in an open space. Personally, I think we should go back to the church where you can control the amount of people who [enter],” she said.

“I think we probably need to start holding ministers responsible. If they go to a funeral and see the crowd too big, they [should] say no I'm not doing this,” she added.

Councillor for the Walderston Division Leroy Mitchell said the police should be informed about funerals, so they can assist with crowd control.

Councillor for the Mile Gully Division Rohan Kennedy suggested an extension of the nightly curfew hours in the parish to help control spread of the virus.

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