Jamaica News: Entertainers staging events, particularly during the festive period, are being reminded that if they exceed the acceptable noise level, the police have the authority to lock down the sound system.
This was emphasised by Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, who advised that organisers of these events “must put in place the necessary measures to ensure that the level of the sound does not cause disturbance” to neighbourhoods in proximity to the event.
The Minister was speaking at a press conference convened at Jamaica House on Wednesday (December 11) to discuss, among other things, the Noise Abatement (Temporary Amendment) Act, which was passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (December 10).
The Bill is a short-term measure to provide for an extension of the time permissible for social and entertainment events over the period of the festive season, while ensuring that public order laws and regulations can be strictly carried out, notwithstanding the extension.
It provides for the extension of the time for social and entertainment events by two hours, to 2:00 a.m. generally, and 4:00 a.m. within certain parameters.
“If you exceed the sound levels and disturb the citizens in neighbouring areas, despite having permission to go until four [o’clock], the police will have the right to lock you down,” Dr. Chang warned.
He noted that given the fact that there will be increased events over the next eight weeks, the police will not have time to give a warning, which means that if the acceptable sound level is exceeded, the police will lock down the sound system on the first occasion.
“What will differ on the second occasion, if they return, my guidance to them [is that] they can apply the law and seize their equipment,” the Security Minister said.
Dr. Chang suggested that a more professional approach to the industry would solve many of the issues currently being encountered, stressing that “we have to… formalise it and we need to raise the bar”.
“Too many of our activities are informal. The music industry is having too big of an informal part. There are many trained sound engineers and sound technicians who can assist the professionals to organise their event in a way it doesn’t disturb anyone and still have quality music within the area of entertainment,” he said.
In the meantime, Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, said he has had discussions with many promoters, who also encounter problems with their “selectors”, noting that sometimes they give instructions for the decibel level to be lowered, but when the selectors change, it is turned back up.
“That’s something that we are going to say to the promoters – that’s their responsibility to deal with. They have to put in place the necessary management at the event to ensure that the event goes [smoothly] and that they don’t cause the disturbance that we are trying to prevent,” he said.
The new provisions are expected to come into effect on the weekend following the passage of the Bill in the Upper House, during its sitting on Friday (December 13), and ends January 31, 2020.