Small-business operators glad SOE is coming to an end
While several prominent stakeholders in St James are unhappy with the planned termination of the state of public emergency (SOE) in the parish, it is welcome news for many small-business operators who have been taking a financial beating as a result of the enhanced security measure.
"This damn emergency has crippled mi business," a Glendevon business operator, who asked not to be identified, told The Gleaner yesterday. "When dem lock we dung 9 o'clock a night, no money caa mek, and dem naa ketch no criminal. If it nuh stop, some a we a go dead fi hungry."
While noting that the 94 murders committed in St James this year was a welcome reduction over the 335 last year, another business operator, who also asked not to be named, said that he was unhappy with the performance of the security forces.
"If we can't round up the few little criminals in one year, our security force is a waste of time," the businessman said. "What we probably need is a new security force that can get the job done. We still can't go to church at night, and we still can't keep a little birthday party at home."
He added: "We are not catching any criminals, and our lives are being disrupted because of this SOE. I hope the plan was not for us to remain under a state of emergency for the rest of our lives."
SOE WAS NOT FAIR
On Wednesday, several stakeholders expressed varying degrees of disappointment that the SOE would come to an end in January, including Montego Bay mayor, Homer Davis; Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association president, Omar Robinson; and Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, Winston Lawson.
However, one prominent Montego Bay-based promoter, who has not been able to earn a living because of the SOE, said that he was particularly disgusted by the fact that it was not handled in an even-handed way.
"The SOE is affecting certain people because some businesses went on as normal, day and night, without any restrictions. Even Reggae Sumfest was exempt from the emergency," said the promoter. "I am happy that they are going to free up the rest of us so that we can go back to making a living."