Digitise issuing of event permits, urges copSunday, June 13, 2021
CLARENDON, Jamaica — Looking ahead to the reopening of the entertainment sector, Superintendent of Police in charge of operations for Clarendon Christopher Phillips has proposed that local authorities digitise the issuing of event permits in an effort to reduce physical contact at the police station.
"When the sector actually reopens I will not want to have hundreds of persons gathered at the offices seeking to get permits and having to be signing hundreds of papers. So I think the [Clarendon Municipal] Corporation could look into that aspect to see how we can simplify the process going forward," he said.
The entertainment industry has been hard hit as the country battles with COVID-19.
On June 1, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said discussions were taking place between the government and stakeholders to craft protocols that could make it possible to have a limited reopening of the sector during the summer. He is expected to give further details in Parliament on June 22.
Superintendent Phillips anticipates that permit seekers will make their requests as soon as the new measures are announced.
''We understand the economic value of the activities that they are engaged in, and I am pleased that they are organising themselves which is a good start as this will enable us to have better interaction with them. I am, however, suggesting to the group that they focus on some critical areas that would prepare them for the future in terms of a certification of their members in preparation for a post- COVID environment," he urged during the monthly sitting of the municipal corporation.
Weighing in on the discussion, Councillor Uphel Purcell (PNP, York Town Division) stressed that keen attention should be given to the selection of venues to be used as entertainment/safe zones. Every effort must be made, he said, to ensure that small players in the sector also benefit from its reopening.
"We have to look at the most important benefit that we can get from it. There cannot be a huge overhead cost that will only allow certain persons to access those venues,” he said. “We must also take into consideration small business operators who have their round-robin groupings. We must also take into serious consideration that these areas should be at an affordable cost to small operators because parties are a big part of their day-to-day happenings that allow these persons to be able to provide for their families."
Mayor of May Pen Winston Maragh told the meeting that the recommendations and concerns raised would be discussed on Monday when all mayors meet with Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie to explore how the local authorities will move forward with the phased reopening of the sector.
Discussions with the police would follow, he added.
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