No sound on Noise Abatement Act extension for Reggae Month

January 28, 2020

As the January 31 cut-off date for the temporary changes to the Noise Abatement Act looms, industry players are having mixed feelings.

Chairman of the Entertainment Advisory Board (EAB), Howard McIntosh, had called for the amendment to be extended for Reggae Month.

However, he has since had no official word on whether or not his call will be heeded. Meanwhile, Chairman of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association, Ewan Simpson, told THE STAR that it is a matter for Cabinet, "but we are not sure exactly where those discussions are".

However, the EAB has a plan.

"We will show during Reggae Month how good practices in organisation and sound regulation can allow the industry to be in compliance with the laws of the land and the act. The reports on the Christmas period have been good so far," he told THE STAR last week.

Garth Walsh, promoter of weekly dance Wet Sundays, said that before the extension he was operating at a loss, the downward turn coinciding with the police enforcing the Noise Abatement Act, starting last August 2019.

"What would happen is that partygoers would come to my event at 12 (a.m.) and then leave and go to either Bounty Sundays or Boom Sundays. But all that stopped because the police were at the venue to make sure that we are locked off, according to the letter of the law. And the people just not used to coming out early. So some would come, but most stayed away, so the business suffered," he said.

While Walsh would definitely welcome the February extension, he wondered why officials would give an extension and then take it back.

"You get them back into the 'late habit', and then come next month you telling them that it's early lock-off. People have been going to sessions late from before me born, so this Noise Abatement Act and extension is not the solution," he said.

He suggested that the creation of entertainment zones be fast-tracked, but said locations must be realistic.

"Most people who go party tek taxi. Dem can't afford to tek taxi go to Port Royal, and that isn't beneficial to the taxi man dem, either. The country is benefiting from entertainment, so we need to put it high on the agenda," Walsh said.

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