LINSTEAD: Political contenders appeal for party promoters to unite, abide by rules to fight COVID-19

Hugh Graham and Clement Dehaney addressing party promoters in Linstead last evening, August 13

Two political contenders last evening urged party promoters in the Linstead area of St. Catherine North West to unite, and to follow protocols aimed at slowing the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The call was made during a meeting hosted by Hugh Graham – the People’s National Party (PNP) candidate in St. Catherine North West in the September 3 General Election. He donned his party colour (orange) at the event, which was held at The Deck (Tip Top Plaza) in Linstead – the main town in the constituency.

The party promoters who attended included Clement Dehaney, who is also the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidate in the Linstead Division. He too wore his party colour (green).

Despite the clashing colours and affiliations, Graham and Dehaney exchanged a handshake and otherwise displayed unity – something they said is needed in the entertainment fraternity in the Linstead area.

Both men noted that, if party promoters are more united and organized, they would stand a better change of earning more cash and gaining clout needed to lobby the authorities.

Dehaney trumpeted: “Wi nuh want nuh ‘Hugo’ or nuh Amos or nuh ‘Bobby’ [who are all political leaders] fi be nuh president of nuh entertainment fraternity in Linstead. Wi nuh want that. Wi need promoters weh come together… When it come on to entertainment, wi nuh deal with politics.”

He lamented that the lack of unity has been costly for promoters in Linstead. “A dat a kill we; wi nuh organize; and den wi blame others for our problems,” he opined.

Dehaney further reasoned that, with unity, promoters will become more successful in acquiring large sponsorship, and having fewer parties clashing on certain dates.

“Wi need to have a body that, when wi a goh to the police, wi nuh have 100 promoters a goh; wi have all two persons goh talk to the police… Wi can organize some shows and look sponsors… Wi can’t a keep party and one man a goh to Red Stripe or D&G for sponsorship; wi have to have a body weh registered and organized,” Dehaney further reasoned.

Graham shared Dehaney’s sentiments that unity is paramount. He also declared that he would willingly offer support – whether in his capacity as a businessman or as a politician.

“I agree with Clement [Dehaney] that you should organize yourselves. If you need support, then we (politicians) can come in and give it a strength. As I said, there are some things that I can do because I am a private sector person,” Graham told the promoters.

He, in explaining how unity can generate success, alluded to his experience in business.

“When I used to start import container, mi couldn’t import one whole container. When Red Stripe give me my first order, mi couldn’t import a container fi miself, but now mi import 20 [or] 30 containers a month. It started somewhere; mi and two man mek up and bring in the container,” Graham explained.

He also urged party promoters to adhere to restrictions, which Government established to help fight COVID-19. “It must better [to have the limited opening of the industry] than to lock it down,” Graham emphasized. He also expressed a willingness to help Linstead party promoters fight COVID-19 by providing them with sanitizers and masks.

Meanwhile, Dehaney amplified Graham’s call for adherence to the law.

He noted that some promoters may be unable to pay the maximum fine for flouting measures implemented to combat COVID-19.

“If wi want entertainment to keep open, wi have to follow protocols or else – as Mr. Graham said, it a goh lock down again… Wi can’t want mek $5,000 extra [by breaking the law] and, when the police grab wi, wi haffi pay a million dollars at court,” Dehaney reasoned.

The government recently re-opened the entertainment industry and warned that it may be closed again if stakeholders refuse to abide by protocols implemented to combat COVID-19. To read about the protocols, CLICK HERE.


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