Local authorities to consider reducing fees for entertainment eventsThursday, June 10, 2021
HANOVER, Jamaica — Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie has disclosed that he intends to provide a lifeline to the entertainment sector by reducing fees charged by municipal corporation's island-wide if given the support of mayors.
The minister was addressing a special sitting of the Hanover Municipal Corporation monthly general meeting today.
McKenzie noted that while the local authorities have lost over a billion dollars since March of last year that would normally be generated through various entertainment fees charged for the hosting of events, he hopes to have a dialogue with mayors on the possibility of reducing fees charged for a certain period when he meets with them later this month.
"Because of the challenges that the sector face I think that we in the local government fraternity, despite our challenges and based on our obligations, I am going to be putting it to the mayors for their consideration that if we take the decision to reopen the sector that for a period, we will consider a reduction in the fees that are associated for the staging of entertainment events," stated the minister.
He noted that if given the support of the local authorities, such a move could provide stability to the sector that has been hit hard by the shutdown.
"Everybody is feeling it and if we take that decision then I will urge the local authorities to come on board and let us try to return some semblance of stability to those who rely heavily on the sector. We have people who sell soup [and] chicken, who sells the beer, who provides certain services that continue to find it difficult to make two ends meet," argued McKenzie.
"So, I'm going to put it to the mayors and I'm hoping to get their buy in on it because I think it will go a far way in showing the commitment of a collective response of the Government to a sector that has been severely affected because of COVID-19," added McKenzie.
The entertainment sector was shuttered in March of last year following the country's record of the first case of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Government had made attempts to reopen the sector between July and August of last year on a limited basis but was forced to backtrack three weeks later.
However, the Government is currently having meetings with entertainment stakeholders to work out an approach to reopening the sector that has contributed significantly to employment opportunities.
Besides, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange during her contribution to the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday disclosed that Prime Minister Andrew Holness will be announcing the reopening of the entertainment sector in Parliament in two weeks.
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