Promoters of the annual Emancipation Day donkey races in the Top Hill area of Lluidas Vale, St Catherine, have mixed feelings about the event held yesterday, August 1.
They said it was ‘successful’ in terms of the relatively large turnout, but they are concerned that the state of public emergency in the area significantly cut vendors’ earnings.
Police reduced the usual nocturnal entertainment package by a few hours, sending would-be buyers away from the venue by 10pm.
“Although the spending was a little low, the turnout was nice. It shows that we still have the culture,” said Melton Edwards, one of the main organizers of the event.
He continued: “The spending wasn’t like last year. To me, it was more successful last year. This year, you have the state of emergency and the time cut off at 10 o’clock.”
Some vendors who spoke with Jamaica Beacon also lamented not getting more time to earn, adding that police also shut down other parties in and around Top Hill at 10pm in light of the state of emergency.
In Lluidas Vale proper, a party dubbed Wet N’ Wild suffered a similar fate.
Residents expressed concern that the only sign of the state of emergency in the general Lluidas Vale area is the early party lock-off. They have not seen an increase in the presence of the security forces, they said.
Meanwhile, the government last month relaxed the state of emergency in St James for days to facilitate an all-night Reggae Sumfest, hosted by millionnaire Joe Bogdanovich.
There was no such luck for smaller promoters, including a group of civic-minded people who have been hosting the Emancipation Day donkey races in Top Hill for some 24 years.
It is the first time that the event is being held during a state of public emergency, declared on March 18 to help curb crime in the general St Catherine North Police Division.
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