House Approves Temporary Extension Of Entertainment Events

Jamaica News: The House of Representatives, on Tuesday (December 10), approved temporary changes that will extend the period for the staging of entertainment activities during the upcoming holiday season.

The Bill, titled ‘Noise Abatement (Temporary Amendment) Act’, provides for extension of the time for social/entertainment events to 2:00 a.m. generally, and 4:00 a.m. within certain parameters. The measures will remain in place until January 31, 2020.

Piloting the legislation, National Security Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said the Bill is a means of ensuring that over the period of the festive season, public order laws and regulations can be strictly carried out, notwithstanding the extension being provided within these amendments.

He noted that 22 years after enactment of the Noise Abatement Act (1997) the country is faced with a mature music industry, a developing entertainment industry, and a bustling real estate sector.

He said that as the Government “we must create the balance between the continued growth of our music and entertainment industries, and maintaining public order, safety and well-being of the general public”.

“It is imperative that as our music and entertainment industries expand, we must simultaneously put in place the appropriate regulatory framework to support the development of industry, while securing the fundamental rights of all citizens,” he contended.

Dr. Chang noted that much work is being undertaken in this regard, including a comprehensive review and amendment of the Noise Abatement Act in the coming year.

He noted that the Bill, therefore, represents a temporary solution to ensure that “we are providing an environment which accommodates the social needs of the people, whether music, church, or political events while preserving the right to non-disturbance, and peaceful rest for residents in its application”.

Meanwhile, Dr. Chang noted that the temporary amendments do not change the sound levels prescribed in the Noise Abatement Act, and urged organisers of entertainment events to put measures in place to ensure that the level of sound does not cause disturbance.

Failure to do so, he said, will see the public order regulations being enforced.

Dr. Chang told the House that the Ministry will be undertaking a vigorous public education campaign, along with sensitisation of members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), over the coming weeks.

The current laws make provision for clubs to remain open until 4:00 a.m.

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