Mayor denies party halt
Patrons enjoying the music at a typical dancehall event.

MAYOR of Spanish Town Norman Scott is denying media reports that he has halted the issuing of entertainment permits because of the state of public emergency (SOE).

"I hope that you will report it just as I am saying. We are awaiting the regulations that will regulate the SOE and to see what are the issues as it relates to the conditions that are in the SOE. We will see if there are going to be opening times, closing times and so on. So far, the [entertainment] industry is as is. When the team revises the regulations, we will see if there are any curtailments," he told the Jamaica Observer.

Last Tuesday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared a SOE in the parishes of Clarendon, St Catherine, and sections of Kingston and St Andrew.

An SOE has also been established for the parishes of St James, Westmoreland, and Hanover.

Mayor of Spanish Town Norman Scott

Holness shared that over the last six months there has been a significant increase in murders on the island. This was echoed by Major General Antony Anderson.

"As at November 13, we have had a total of 1,360 murders in Jamaica. It's really at that point an increase of 6.8 per cent over last year," he said. "The main drivers of these violent crimes continue to be gang violence which accounts for 71 per cent of all murders and interpersonal conflicts which account for another 16 per cent of all murders," Holness said during a press conference at Jamaica House.

In the meantime, Scott said promoters are eagerly awaiting word about the fate of the industry for the coming weeks. He noted that a revision of the regulations should done in the coming days.

"The promoters are anxiously awaiting the outcome," he said.

In the island's western end, regulations have been put in motion. Under the SOE, people may be arrested without a warrant to prevent criminal offences, however should not exceed one week. Lawmen may, however, repeat the course of action if they believe more time is necessary for an investigation.

The extension must be authorised by a police officer above the rank of senior superintendent. After six weeks, the detainees must be released or brought before a parish court judge.

Patrons enjoying the music at a previous party.
BY KEDIESHA PERRY Observer writer

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