Jamaica minister of tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has warned breaches of Covid-19 protocols will not be tolerated in the sector.

The comments follow the controversial staging of a Mocha Fest at Rick’s Café in Negril.

The minister said the event was in direct breach of health and safety protocols.

“The Tourism Product Development Company (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,” said Bartlett in a statement.

“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 exists – must be compliant in all regards,” added the tourism minister.

Earlier today, TPDCo withdrew Covid-19 compliance certification from the venue with immediate effect.

Consequently, the cafe 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 closed the venue for seven days and that the management of the establishment has been summoned to a meeting with officials.

“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 Bartlett.

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