Dancehall artiste Beenie Man has joined the throng of Jamaicans who are expressing their outrage at the Jamaican government after videos emerged of the seven-day party series, Mocha Fest, being held in Negril.
People took to social media to blast the government’s double standard in allowing a tourist-only event to be held even though the local entertainment industry has been under lockdown since March last year. Stakeholders have been advocating for a phased reopening of the sector but the government has been adamant that it cannot facilitate this as yet.
So when videos of patrons who were not wearing masks or even social distancing at Mocha Fest held at Rick’s Cafe in Negril began circulating online the outrage was immediate.
Rick Cafe has since had its COVID-19 permit revoked with immediate effect and has expressed its regret at breaching the country’s COVID-19 protocols.
“We acknowledge the Mocha Fest party on Thursday afternoon at Rick’s Cafe became more crowded than expected under current protocols for entertainment venues,” said a statement by Rick’s Cafe spokesperson issued Friday morning.
“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.”
But for Beenie Man Rick’s Cafe’s apology does not cut it.
The dancehall veteran was also found in breach of the Disaster Risk management Act (DRMA) at an event in St Elizabeth in November last year. He too apologized but was later charged and fined for the breach.