COVID-19 Affects New Year’s Fireworks Plans

COVID-19 affects fireworks: As the new year approaches, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is reminding citizens that the staging of fireworks is illegal without a permit.

This, as the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) cancels two of its signature New Year’s Eve events. The two events being the ‘fireworks on the waterfront’ and ‘fireworks on the bay’.

Over the years, more than 300,000 persons gather at the Kingston Waterfront and Ocho Rios Bay Beach to usher in the new year by witnessing the island’s most outstanding fireworks displays. Unfortunately, the waterfront will not come alive this New Year’s Eve with the 19th staging of the event  due to the new realities brought on by COVID-19.

Head of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB), Senior Superintendent of Police Gary Mckenzie says no permits will be granted for fireworks this year, as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions. 

The permits are usually granted by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JFC), in partnership with the municipal corporation, the Jamaica Fire Brigade and the Ministry of Health. 

He says persons could be charged under the towns and communities act and taken before the court. At that point, it’s the judge’s prerogative to decide on the fines. 

SSP Mckenzie is reminding persons who may stage private fireworks displays, that this is illegal without a permit and can be very dangerous

He is also warning persons in possession of firecrackers, more commonly called ‘clappers’, that this is illegal.  He explains that the activating, discharging or throwing of firecrackers in public spaces is illegal under section 3 of the Towns and Communities Act.

As 2020 quickly comes to an end, there lies much uncertainty on how soon life will return to normal, when public gatherings may no longer be seen as red flags.