Amid complaints that the states of public emergency in St James and St Catherine North Police Division are significantly affecting commerce, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has promised to review the current restrictions, thereby allowing some businesses more time to remain open.
He stated that, while the revision may not facilitate a ‘free for all’, consideration is being given to events such as Reggae Sumfest that will be held in St James from July 15 to 21.
“We will again review them (closing hours) to ensure that there is no adverse impact to commerce. There is a major event coming up in Montego Bay – Sumfest, and we are very sensitive again as that is almost a national festival,” the prime minister said.
“I am not certain that we will be having a free for all, but there may have to be provisions made in the other communities in North St Catherine [Police Division], where there is a state of emergency.
“The issue that has been raised about the impact on commerce is something that I am sensitive to, and I wouldn’t want in any way that the creative industries are affected by the imposition of state of emergency. If we can find an accommodation, I will take a second look at it,” the prime minister further told parliament on Tuesday, June 26.
He noted that the security forces, gradually, have been relaxing restrictions regarding closing hours for businesses.
“The security forces have progressively loosened the restrictions. So, for example, in St James, they would have started with a closing time that I believe would have been at 7pm. As the security conditions allow, they have progressively loosened that restriction,” added Prime Minister Holness.