Tue | Jun 28, 2022

Patrons cut up over StJMC’s attempt to close eatery

Published:Saturday | May 28, 2022 | 1:06 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer

Angry protesters yesterday staged a demonstration at the entrance to the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, St James, registering their opposition to an attempt by the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC) to close a popular food outlet at the location.

The StJMC has been expressing concerns over the state of several food establishments in the parish.

The placard-bearing protesters, who included taxi operators, customers and patients of the hospital, lashed out at what they deemed a politically motivated move to close down the Jam Rave Restaurant and Groceries after it was slapped with an injunction.

The injunction states that the business is blocking traffic, breeding rodents, and impeding pedestrians from using the crossing at the hospital gate.,

Millicent Gordon, who lives in Trelawny, told The Gleaner that because of a personal medical condition, she has been a patient at the Cornwall Regional Hospital clinic for more than six years, but she has been getting her hot meals at Jam Rave.

“Every week mi come a MoBay, a right yah so mi eat mi lunch and sometimes mi dinner. The place clean, nice, and dem food nice cook good, and mi never see a single rat a run yah so yet,” said Gordon.

“This restaurant supports thousands a people who come a hospital, a it save the life a nuff babymother over hospital. Any time a night, you can get a hot meal. Even police and soldiers eat a this restaurant, night and day,” she said.

Another female protester said the authorities should instead shift their focus to the parish’s crime problem and the problems plaguing the hospital, which has been undergoing a renovation for a few years.

Dain Little, operator and owner of the Jam Rave Restaurant and Groceries, told The Gleaner that he and his family have been operating from the location for more than 30 years and they have never had a complaints from the hospital or the health department.

Private project

Although cited for blocking access to the pedestrian crossing, Little said that it was he who had painted it and at his own expense.

“It was my private project and also my food establishment is well sanitised and [has not received] any form of complaints from the health department,” he said. “All that my business does is provide good food and other items for patients at the hospital, and on the side, we provide lubricants for the taxi operators, who support me to the fullest.”

He added: “I believe that this plot by the St James [Municipal Corporation] to close down my business is politically motivated because all of this started when I started to give support to various People’s National Party councillors and representatives in the area.”

Attempts by The Gleaner to get a comment from Montego Bay Mayor Leeroy Williams were unsuccessful.