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KINGSTON, Jamaica; May 28, 2021: Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has issued a stern warning that breaches of the established protocols put in place to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, will not be tolerated in the tourism sector. This as he underscored that the controversial staging of the Mocha Fest event at Rick’s Café in Negril was in direct breach of the Government’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Mr. Bartlett stressed that “the Tourism Product Development Company Ltd. (TPDCo), which is a public body of the Ministry of Tourism, has acted immediately to ensure that appropriate steps were taken to punish the entity that was in breach of the protocols.”
“I want to make it very clear that the Ministry of Tourism will not tolerate any breaches whatsoever of the protocols that we have established to facilitate the safe operation of the sector. All our partners, local and international, who will engage our tourism product over the next few months – and as long as the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) exists – must be compliant in all regards,” added the Minister.
Earlier today, TPDCo withdrew Rick’s Café’s COVID-19 compliance certification with immediate effect. Consequently, Rick’s Café will be required to undergo a re-certification exercise to ensure strict adherence to the established COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols before it can be allowed to accept visitors again.
Additionally the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has announced that it has ordered Rick’s Café closed for seven days and that the management of the establishment has been summoned to a meeting with officials from the Ministry and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) on Monday.
“I am deeply saddened by the fact that such a breach has occurred, however the various arms of Government have acted immediately and firmly,” said Minister Bartlett.
“As Minister, I am deeply saddened by any activity whatsoever which breaches any element of the DRMA. These breaches undermine the protocols that we worked so hard to create and the resilient corridors which have gained international recognition because of the high compliance level which we have had and the impeccable record of very low instances of infection,” said Bartlett.
“All activities which are being undertaken within the sector must comply with the protocols established. Failing which, the security forces are well aware of their actions and their rights in that regard,” he warned.