'Free up' permits for Black History Month - Ninja Man
Dancehall artiste Ninja Man wants the Government to 'free up' parties and social gatherings in commemoration of Black History Month.
In an interview with THE STAR, the veteran deejay said that there aren't enough activities going on locally to celebrate the month, and he wants the powers that be to remedy this by handing out permits free of cost.
"Black History Month and Reggae Month are the same month for a reason," he said.
"More activities fi a gwaan fi celebrate both. Reggae music is all about the rights of people, celebrating our culture, and so this month a di month weh everything inna reggae and dancehall fi free up."
Ninja Man added that the month and what it stands for will always be relevant. However, he believes that if there aren't enough activities going on to celebrate the month, people will eventually lose interest.
"Black History Month will always be relevant, but people need to start make more use of the month. People need fi feel more freedom inna di air. Enough nah gwaan inna di month fi people come out and celebrate, so we need more activities," he said.
"This is the one time a di year when yuh a keep an event yuh shouldn't haffi go look fi get permit. Yuh fi just go and tell the police say we wanna keep something because it's Black History Month and Reggae Month, and we a celebrate wi culture and wi freedom. A unity time now. After this month, everything can go back to normal."
POLICE HAVE NO SAY
But Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, head of the communications arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, told THE STAR that Ninja Man's suggestion is not something the police would have a say in, as cops are only acting in accordance to the law.
"Unfortunately, the police don't have that authority (to free up permits). We are constrained by the law and we have to operate within the legislation," she explained.
"For that to happen, the legislatures in Parliament would have to make a law that will allow us to do that. The law will have to say that for the period of Black History Month we have modified the provisions so people hosting events will be offered leniency in some areas."
Lindsay also said that the request is not new as the laws have been modified in the past to accommodate events being held around the Emancipation and Independence celebrations. Therefore, if there should be a clause outlining a similar provision for Black History Month, she doesn't foresee any problems between the police and event promoters.
However, should the authorities loosen their grip on the permits, Ninja Man insisted that citizens should obey the law and uphold the principles passed down by our ancestors.
"Nanny, Marcus Garvey, Paul Bogle, and all di hero dem fight fi we freedom, and if we get the chance fi free up certain levels di only thing weh nuffi free up is the killing a people and robbing. All a we happiness and party dem fi free up."