SOE breaches irk Montego Bay's mayor
Montego Bay's mayor, Councillor Homer Davis, has urged business operators in St James to be more responsible and cooperative in adhering to the established closing hours for businesses under the ongoing state of public emergency (SOE) in the parish.
The mayor said that business operators who opened well beyond set closing times were obstructing the work of the security forces, as well as endangering the welfare of the city.
"We can't have St James Street lined out with people selling clothes at 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning, and soup a cook, porridge a cook," said Davis, while addressing last week's monthly meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation.
"So what time does the NSWMA (National Solid Waste Management Authority) come around and get the city clean? How the police patrol that time of the morning when 10 to 15 business places are open and higglers are in the street?" asked Davis.
Based on the regulations governing the SOE, clubs are to close at 2 a.m. Spirit-licensed premises can run up to 10 p.m. and supermarkets, as well as retail businesses, are given up to 8 p.m..
"We need to be more responsible. The city needs to breathe and have a lock-off period where the [place] can be cleaned," said Davis. "Yes, there are some places like a nightclub where you can give up to 4 a.m. (for closing), but some people want their unrelated businesses to be open just the same. It can't work," added the mayor.
"The man who is supposed to be at work 8 a.m. is out drinking at 3 a.m. Parents need to go home and take care of their families. So, I am saying, let's see if we can get some order and embrace what is happening," said Davis.
During the meeting, Davis also applauded the Government and the Opposition for agreeing on another 90-day extension to the state of public emergency in St James.
"We immediately saw the results of this extension," said Davis, in reference to the major gun find in Ramble Hill the day after the extension. "I want to implore the citizens to continue giving their support to the security forces, because we need to ensure that, at the end of the state of public emergency, the parish will be in a better position in terms of safety," the mayor said.