MoBay’s mayor, JCF standing by SOE
Montego Bay's mayor, Councillor Homer Davis, and Assistant Commissioner of Police Ealan Powell, the Jamaica Constabulary Force's commander for the state of emergency (SOE) in St James, have said that there would be no relaxation of the stipulated closing hours for businesses impacted by the SOE.
The tough stance comes against the background of the recent arrest of club owner Calijah Morgan, who was subsequently fined J$50,000 in the St James Parish Court for breaching the Emergency Powers Act by keeping his establishment open several hours after the stipulated midnight closing time.
"I read recently that a gentleman (Morgan) was fined $50,000 for opening his business beyond the closing hours, and under the Towns and Communities Act there's a stipulation of the time that you open and the time that you close. If the law says you are to close at 9 p.m., 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., then you just need to comply," stated Davis.
"If you need special permission to open, you can apply for special permission. There was an appeal that was made recently, but we're not prepared to go beyond what the law prescribes at this time," continued Davis, who intimated that the application that was made to his administration to adjust the closing hours for a particular business place was rejected.
In pushing back at those business operators, who wanted to revert to the pre-SOE operating hours, Powell said that resistance to the new regime was not widespread. But he made it clear that breaches would not be allowed to go unpunished.
"I would not say there is a general resistance (to the closing times), but there have been instances where persons have not observed the times, and we have taken action," said Powell. "Generally, we have people abiding by the rules, but the appeal is for people to abide by the hours to avoid prosecution."