Genesis MoBay organisers look ahead to 2024
MONTEGO BAY, St James – Organisers for the Montego Bay leg of Genesis are promising that the annual gospel show will be back in December 2024 and that there may even be a show before then.
“We might do something in Easter for the people who were looking forward to the show, just to make sure that they are able to enjoy themselves,” Barrington Sergeant, who is part of the organising team, told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.
The Christmas Eve 2023 show failed to get off the ground and, more than a week later, there is still disagreement over what happened.
In a December 30 statement, St James Municipal Corporation had insisted that there had been no application for an entertainment licence for the staging of Genesis. On Tuesday, Sergeant told the Jamaica Observer that though he did the paperwork, he never submitted the application because verbal responses to his queries left him with the impression that the event could not be held because there was a state of public emergency (SOE) in effect in St James.
“I have [the application] I filled out because they said that they are not issuing any licence,” he told the Observer.
According to Sergeant, he first approached the municipal corporation about the middle of November and was advised that no permits were being issued because of the ongoing SOE. A 14-day SOE was declared in St James on November 8 and there were two others enforced as part of SOEs in wider geographic locations. Sergeant said he went back to the municipal corporation six times to see if anything had changed, however he received the same answer, as the SOEs continued. Three 14-day periods from November 8 would take the end of the last SOE to December 20, 10 days before Christmas Eve when the show was to be held.
Sergeant said that the form that he had filled out when he first applied “should have been taken back to the office and [I would have been] given the receipt. I have them, and every time I go there and say, ‘Can I apply now?’ They say, ‘Sir, the instruction remains the same.’ They are not issuing any licence during the period,” Sergeant told the Jamaica Observer.
He said when he asked about the status of other shows he was told that those promoters would be called in to discuss their respective events.
This was in stark contrast to the replies he was receiving from the police. He maintained that they gave permission for Genesis to proceed.
“I had to apply specially to the police [who] called me on the first of December and interviewed me, and wrote up their form, and told me then and there that it’s okay with them to have the event. That’s what happens every year,” he said.
He appeared to suggest that the foul-up rests with the municipal corporation.
“The mayor [of Montego Bay] himself made a statement, and he stated the mere facts. He said because the state of emergency was going on they were not certain what was happening; they didn’t issue any licence because they didn’t want to collect anything and had to refund. He went as far as that, so he really said what should be said,” said Sergeant.
Despite disappointment about the show not going ahead, he is now eager to put the whole thing behind him and prepare for shows in 2024.