Local tourist hub Rick’s Café’s permit has just been revoked by the Tourism Product Development Company Ltd (TPDCo) with immediate effect.
This is due to the breach of COVID-19 health protocols yesterday in which videos surfaced online showing scores of partygoers at the venue, gyrating at a week-long party ‘Mocha Fest’ while disregarding the COVID-19 safety protocols.
TPDCo says Rick’s Café’s operators “will be required to undergo a recertification exercise to ensure strict adherence to the established COVID-19 health protocols before they can be allowed to accept patrons and tourists at the venue again.” These statements were made in a news release by TPDCo earlier today.
In response, Rick’s Café expressed deep regrets for the operation of the event which saw over 800 tourists most of whom are visiting from the United States, being hosted in Negril to attend the week-long parties held by the operators.
“We deeply regret that it occurred, and sincerely apologise for allowing it to happen. Going forward, we will redouble compliance training to ensure this does not happen again,” said a representative from Rick’s Café in a recent statement.
The representative also said “the party became more crowded than expected under current protocols for entertainment venues.” However, he explains that prior to entering “all patrons were temperature checked, hand sanitized and face masks were required” but they will ensure that there will be no reoccurrence of this happening.
Local government minister Desmond McKenzie in a recent interview says no entertainment permit was granted to the promoters of Mocha Fest and the promoter will face prosecution.
“The government wants to make it abundantly clear that there is no two Jamaica, we are not giving anyone any preferential treatment, the persons who were responsible for staging this event have not passed the worse…not because the event has passed does not mean that the law will not reach out to them;” said Mr. McKenzie.
The minister also warns other promoters and partygoers to look out for the police as they will be applying strict measures to any other parties and promoters who disobey the COVID-19 protocols.
“I have been in touch with the commissioner of police, we have gotten more information as to other events that are being planned for over this weekend, I want to say to the public whether you are visiting or you’re Jamaican, that none of these events have the approval of the Office of the Disaster Preparedness (ODPEM), who is the only authority that can grant these approvals. The government will be taking the strongest measures to ensure that the compliance is adhere to;” the minister stated.
In concurring these actions of the various authorities and governmental bodies to clamp down on these breaches, TPDCo also expresses that it “takes the reports of breaches of these protocols and the Disaster Risk Management Act very seriously and that the appropriate sanctions will take full effect.”
Writer- Natasha Williams