Entertainment players staying positive - Stakeholders, Government to collaborate on strategic planning for sector reopening

February 22, 2021
Patrons dancing up a sweat at a staging of Strictly 2K.
Patrons dancing up a sweat at a staging of Strictly 2K.

Coming out of the special meeting called by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie last Friday, the general feedback from members of the events industry was positive.

"A number of possible approaches were discussed with members of the industry along with Ministers Grange and McKenzie and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management who represented on the virtual call and it was agreed the approaches would be refined and re-presented in another two weeks," Howard McIntosh, chairman of the Entertainment Advisory Board (EAB), told THE STAR. "All in all, it was a very positive meeting."

Events practitioners are seeking reliable guidance on how to hold events of all sizes safely, once the Government gives the official nod to reopen the sector. Several industry professionals have agreed that in order to address the resulting impact, manage responses, share experiences and find solutions, these virtual meetings are a necessity to pool all relevant resources and proposals to encourage collaboration.

Therefore, the idea that one or more solutions would materialise from one meeting may be a little more complex than just the refinement of proposals said Kamal Bankay, a member of the EAB, and chairman of the Sports and Entertainment Network in the Ministry of Tourism. He was given the responsibility to present his proposal to a wide cross-section of industry players and government officials virtually.

"The same proposal which I had submitted several weeks ago was presented and all the details discussed for persons within the meeting to share their comments, views and then Minister McKenzie asked for a technical working group to be assembled to refine all the details," Bankay shared.

He also expressed optimism following the meeting, pointing out that the ministers gave the impression that there is a shared desire to resume entertainment and sports, with the right strategic plan.

"The working group has to utilise the best practices from around the world to apply to our current situation and present a very detailed technical plan through a collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and associated agencies," he said.

"Together, we will develop and refine proposals for final consideration for how we are to reopen the sector. The Government is being guided by health professionals and so are we, so that is why it is important for us to collaborate with them to do a risk assessment based on globally-accepted practices currently in effect," he said. "If we understand what is going on worldwide to mitigate risks about gathering, we can apply it locally. Once that is determined, we can say what can work for the first phase [and] second phase and what has to be left to work in the third phase."

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