VETERAN sound system operator Winston “Wee Pow” Powell is calling for the Government to offer financial assistance to entertainment players following the suspension of the operations of the industry yet again due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“It's very sad to know that we have to take these measures. Nonetheless, we know it's not permanent, and we'll see how best it goes. They [Government] need to look about an incentive for the entertainment industry because we're feeling it hard,” said Powell, principal of Stone Love Movements and conceptualiser of weekly party series Weddy Weddy Wednesdays.
In an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, effective today, all social gatherings have been prohibited under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA).
Curfew times have also been adjusted from 8:00 pm on weekdays to 7:00 pm. Saturdays' curfew hours have been adjusted from 8:00 pm to 6:00 pm, while on Sundays it is slated to start at 2:00 pm. All curfews ends at 5:00 am the following day.
The Stone Love CEO said, with the five stagings of Weddy Weddy Wednesdays he managed to squeeze in, since the July 1, with the relaxation of the ban on entertainment events, he was able make ends meet.
“They were small scale because we couldn't have a tight cluster. They were also held in the daytime, which was very different than before. It was okay. It wasn't financially [strong] enough, but it managed to feed mouths,” Powell told the Jamaica Observer.
On July 1 until yesterday (August 10), small scale events, including concerts, parties, round robins, festivals, community events, corporate mixers, handing-over and ground-breaking ceremonies were allowed with 100 patrons, including the support staff.
Promoters of large scale events were, however, required to submit applications to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport to see if the arrangements meet the requirements. If the ministry was satisfied it sent the application to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). The ODPEM consulted with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the municipal corporation, and any other relevant authority, and if all parties were satisfied the application for the event to be held at a specified place and time was approved.
The veteran sound system selector said he was now shifting his focus to the selling of records to stay afloat.
“I'm in the music business, so I make a living from selling records. Me have whole heap a record weh mi sell,” he said.
Up to yesterday, Jamaica recorded 55,456 cases of the coronavirus with 1,241 fatalities. The positivity rate is 38.6 per cent.