Passa Passa presses on

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The organisers of ‘Passa Passa’, the popular streetside dance held weekly in West Kingston, are pressing ahead with plans to host its fourth anniversary celebrations tomorrow, despite the Ministry of Health’s ban on mass gatherings in areas affected by malaria.

Head of the Kingston Western Police Division, Deputy Superin-tendent Delroy Hewitt, said he was told by the organisers that they had received permission from the Ministry of Health to hold the event, on condition that the venue is sprayed and fumigated.

“So I don’t see a big problem,” he said.

However, the ministry yesterday denied that it had given permission to the organisers to host the event.

On December 1, the Health Ministry reported four cases of malaria in the communities of Trench Town, Delacree Park, Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town.

It immediately instituted a ban on mass gatherings in these areas. The number of malaria cases has since climbed to 294, four of which have been identified in the Great Bay area of St. Elizabeth.

Meanwhile, the Fireworks Organising Committee is to get permission from the Health Ministry to host Fireworks on the Waterfront on March 17. This is part of its activities to welcome visitors to the country during the staging of Cricket World Cup.

Fireworks on the Waterfront, a major calendar event held to herald the new year, was postponed because of the malaria outbreak.

Francis Kennedy, chairman of the Fireworks Organising Committee said he was in the process of seeking funding and as soon as that came through, he would be contacting the ministry.

Dr. Sheila Campbell Forrester-Campbell, acting chief medical officer of health, said the ministry would grant the committee permission as the event would be held on the periphery of the affected areas.