‘You have 48 hours’: Desmond McKenzie slams Devon House party, demands explanation

Minister Desmond McKenzie

Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie has expressed his dismay that promoters held a party at popular venue Devon House on Friday (July 3), in what he views as “a clear breach” of the Disaster Risk Management protocol.

Minister McKenzie, in a statement on Sunday, said that not only was scant regard given to the government mandate—limiting how many persons can be gathered in any public space—what was more disturbing was the sheer number of patrons.

“The evidence of this breach is clear. It is a total violation of the rules and the police have been duly advised. This is a breach of the ban on gatherings at places of amusement, as well as a breach of the nightly curfew hours. Even more disturbing is the fact that this event was promoted, and has been attended by large numbers of people every Friday for a protracted period,” he began.

Several posts showing highlights of the ‘Happy Hour’ party quickly made Devon House a trending topic this weekend on Twitter.

“Quite frankly, this does not look good. I am surprised that the management of Devon House is permitting this event to happen, and I am insisting on a formal explanation within 48 hours. I am also insisting that no events can be contemplated or allowed by Devon House or any entity anywhere, until whenever the Disaster Risk Management Order is amended to allow them,” the minister explained.

McKenzie, further condemning Friday’s party, sternly stated that despite any perceptions, the protocols and restrictions issued under the government order apply to the whole society.

“There are no uptown rules or downtown rules. The violators in this matter will be held to account. Large numbers of Jamaicans are obeying the rules, and trying to protect themselves and their families. We will not allow selfish people to endanger the Government’s efforts to manage COVID-19, and to put our health personnel under greater pressure, just because they want to party,” he added.

While thanking concerned citizens for bringing the breach to his attention the minister said that he trusts this will serve as a clear warning to all that “strong action will be taken” if people insist on violating the order.

“I also want to thank the concerned citizens who brought this to my attention, and I want to encourage all our civic-minded Jamaicans to continue to report and reveal all violations they witness,” he remarked.

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