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Cops turn blind eye to smoking ban - Revellers light up at Dream Week

Published:Saturday | August 3, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Patrons lighting up the first Dream Week event, Dream Live concert, in Negril on Thursday.

Karrie Williams, Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:The public smoking ban recently imposed in Jamaica seems to have no effect on party-loving fans who have travelled to Negril to soak up this year's entertainment offerings being put on by Smirnoff Dream Weekend.

Several patrons could be seen smoking openly both inside and outside the venue, even as the police walked by them, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they were disobeying the new law.

When The Gleaner spoke to some of these patrons, they expressed a lack of understanding about the meaning of the term 'public space'.

What is public?

According to Nav Cabrezie, a visitor from London, there is some level of confusion surrounding the definition of the word 'public'.

"What people don't understand is whether public means outdoors, or public means indoors; but if you are outside, it's all right. It's just too much confusion. You see, in the United Kingdom, we have a public smoking ban which means that anywhere indoors that's public you are not allowed to smoke such as hotels and restaurants, but it's all right outside," he said.

Police don't know

In light of these concerns, The Gleaner sought feedback from the Negril police where one senior officer sided with Cabrezie; stating that at this point, there has not yet been any clear definition of what a public space is and as such, the police are hesitant to approach and reprimand persons.

He said that in light of the recent announcements made by the heath minister, Dr Fenton Ferguson, concerning imminent changes to the Public Smoking Act, the police will continue to hold off any actions until they have received absolute certainty about the definition of a public space.