Regional

Dream Weekend gets thumbs up

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer West writer

Thursday, August 08, 2019

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NEGRIL, Westmoreland — The annual Dream Weekend party series, which started on Friday and ended on Tuesday in Negril, has reportedly registered a record number of patrons in attendance, and it appears that the police were well prepared to make public safety and order management in the resort town a success.

“Things are going very well so far. In my estimation, it has been a record number of persons attending all the events. And, one of the things that we did was to revamp our level of organisation from a policing point of view and an organisational point of view,” disclosed Superintendent of Police in charge of the Westmoreland Police Division, Gary McKenzie, a day before the end of the party series.

“Some of the things that we sought to improve are our level of management of the roadway in terms of traffic and motorcycles. So, one of the things that we have done is to put in some checkpoints where we regulate the number of motorcycles that go into the area where we have events.”

The senior officer added that the police have seized a number of unlicenced and uninsured motorcycles, noting that several of the drivers were also prosecuted for not wearing their helmets, while other motorists were also prosecuted and a number of vehicles seized.

Between Friday and Tuesday more than 30 motorcycles were reportedly seized and over 160 traffic tickets issued.

According to Superintendent McKenzie, the police also had tow trucks in place that removed vehicles parked in areas which caused obstruction, such as those parked at the entrance to hotels and venues.

In relation to vending, the senior cop said no one was prosecuted as attempts by the police to improve the management of vending had borne fruit.

“So, in discussion with the municipalities for both Hanover and Westmoreland, we have designated some areas as we have been very firm in terms of persons adhering to it. And, as such, we have freer vehicle movement and I have to say that we pretty much have a crime-free set of events so far,” said a seemingly satisfied McKenzie.

Both Hanover Western and Westmoreland Western share the resort town of Negril.

“As far as I am concerned, people are happy. They are very pleased with the overall management and the police management as well,” McKenzie stressed.

“It is a happy time for everybody and we want everybody to come and enjoy themselves. Those persons who have a licence to vend and so on, we ensure we manage them. We keep them off the roadway. We keep them to one side and ensure that they stay there.”

The deportment of patrons also came in for commendation from the senior officer.

“The behaviour of the public has been very good and this is something that we really commend,” expressed Superintendent McKenzie.

And following consultations with its members, president of the Negril Chamber of Commerce, Richard Wallace, said the feedback he has received is good. He said last year's staging of the event had left the town in “total chaos”.

“We are getting good feedback. People are saying that the measures are definitely working. They are seeing a lot less illegal bike taxes going up and down and the free- for- all that was evident last year. You have bikes, but they (drivers) are wearing helmets, and so forth. And they (members of the chamber) are saying that the police presence seems to be a lot better because people are saying that they are seeing police everywhere. So, I can endorse what the superintendent said, we are getting good results from the measures,” stated Wallace.

“We want to commend the police and the Dream directors who obviously are listening to the community and are making efforts to make Dream better every year.”

Earlier, Ron Burke, director of sales at Dream Entertainment Ltd and event promoter, told the Jamaica Observer West that “it (Dream Weekend) has proved to be an unforgettable experience”.

“We are pleased with the turnout and we expect large crowds as the event progresses. The crowds are bigger than we had expected”, Burke said, adding that 65 per cent of the patrons in attendance were tourists.

This year, live acts featured Spice, Capleton, Ding Dong, Munga Honorable, Gage, Teejay, and Hot Frass.


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