The case against Usain Bolt for breaching the Disaster Risk Management Act has been dropped as the Jamaica Constabulary Force says it does not have enough to go on since the party was reported after the fact.
Last year in August, a surprise birthday breakfast bash was held for the legendary sprinter at Football Factory to celebrate his 34th birthday. The party included a range of VIP guests, including several high-profile footballers and entertainers.
Many who attended the event went to great pains as they posted on social media to mislead the public that the event was held the year prior and that it was a throwback party. However, some patrons did not get the message it seems and made contradicting posts online confirming that the party actually happened that day as they showed off their fancy breakfast party outfits and posted that they were at Bolt’s party.
The news of the party caused an uproar as the Jamaican government banned events and gatherings of over 15 people. Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Health Minister Chris Tufton had declared that there would be no favoritism in how the sprinting legend will be treated.
To make matters worse, there was also a reported spike of Covid-19 cases, which included the Sprinter himself becoming infected from the virus allegedly by one of the party patrons, some of whom had recently traveled and failed to quarantine as the government had ordered.
Now, the police say Bolt will get off Scot-free as the investigation can go no further. However, Jamaicans are not taking the explanation of the police kindly.
On Sunday, the Senior Superintendent of Police Stephanie Lindsay said that the investigation has been shelved as the information that could be evidence was received after the event.
“that matter was closed because the Disaster Risk Management Act is designed that the person or persons must be warned by the police to stop and disperse. If they comply, that will be the end of it, but if they continue, then action will be taken,” Lindsay said. “So in that matter, we could not continue investigating because we got the footage of the event after it was completed, so he could not have been prosecuted under the Disaster Risk Management Act for a breach.”
Lindsay rejected the assertion by local journalists that Bolt was untouchable, and others in similar breaches, which include the likes of Beenie Man and local viral sensation Solanie, will face the consequences. Both Beenie Man and Solanie have been charged with breaches and are to appear in court to answer further to the charges.
Lindsay defended the investigation with Bolt as different.
“In that particular matter [Beenie Man], they were warned not to have the event because we got information that the event would have been held prior to and persons were warned not to. The police went and the event was happening, so because they were warned and they went ahead and did it, that constituted a breach.”
Beenie Man’s case is scheduled for sentencing in May. He pleaded guilty to the charges. The main evidence against the artist is a video of him promoting the party even while events were banned on the island due to the covid-19 pandemic. The police later reported that the party was still kept even as it had warned that keeping a party was in breach of the DRM Act. Beenie Man was later asked to report to the police, where he was charged.