Drawbacks of the Noise Abatement Act: The Noise Abatement Act was no doubt instituted as a good thing with good intentions, but like most laws and policies coming from our governments, it was not clearly and thoroughly thought out and enacted; and so, instead of it being useful to the people, it becomes a further source of annoyance, frustration and a millstone around their necks.
Had it been carefully thought out with the best interest of all the people in mind, it would not turn out to be both bothersome and burdensome, giving rise to countless conflicts between the police and the citizenry, and creating yet another avenue to further corrupt the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Additionally, it could not be that the powers-that-be would have rushed into it knowing that the collateral damage from this ill-advised law would stifle commerce. In a land where work and opportunities for economic advancement are scarce, it would have been foolhardy to say the least.
It is puzzling when everything is taken into consideration, why it is that we are saddled with this law in the form it is in, but the government -particularly local- would stand to reap a windfall as the Promoter is forced to seek a Permit for virtually every Event staged, even if it does not infringe on the dictates of the Noise Abatement Act.
In order to stage an Event, the Promoter must go the Parish Council, or Municipal Corporations as they are now being called, in the area where the event is to be held. A fee must be paid, and the Promoter must then proceed to the appropriate police station in the locale to negotiate with a Senior police officer on the matter. Once in the hands of the police, it becomes a matter of discretion; and the permit can be denied on legitimate and valid grounds, as well as the most fatuous and frivolous. Recourse to appeal is almost always a waste of time, and a venture in a storm of frustrations.
While the cost for the Permit is not expensive, the interact with the police can quickly make it prohibitively so. During the interview process, the Promoter will be asked a number of questions on venue size, security in place, requirements, etc., If the Promoter advises that private security arrangements have been made, it will still come op that the police will have to be hired for the Event. The Promoter is not the one who determines how many such police will be needed, and the granting of the Permit hinges on this, even if it isn’t expressed in clear terms…. Once told how many will be required, the rates are then announced; and these will vary from Constable to the rank of Inspector, who may or may not attend the Event. However, the rate charged for all must be paid.
Once the Permit has been granted, the Promoter is informed that the Event is until Midnight on weekdays; and up until 2:00 am on weekends. Promoters have had a most difficult time with the impracticality and newness of this time restrictions that patrons have not yet adjusted to, and probably never will…..
Many stories have been circulated, with many more truthful than fiction, that even with Permit in hand, the police can, will and have been locking off Events prematurely. This usually leaves both patrons and Promoter seething, and the divide between the police and some of the citizenry further widens. The ludicrousness of it all is not lost on the observant bystander with no axe to grind….
Problems are not solved by methods that create more problems, and our governments are particularly good at making laws and formulating policies that show the disconnect between them and the people they purport to serve. One could think that it wouldn’t be beyond them to introduce zoning and stop talking about it as a means to solve the problems. This would remove the offensive noise pollution from residential areas, and the churches and political meetings should not be exempt. These Entertainment Zones, patrons so desiring will be able to enjoy themselves until the wee hours of the morning without disturbing anyone, or creating a nuisance to people who are entitled to their quietude. With the requisite safeguards in place to ensure that the public is not adversely affected by any number of things that can go wrong by unchecked Promoters and wayward patrons, a sensible goal of protecting the rights of those being violated can be arrived at.
This does not need a Commission, Committee and the like. It need not take a thousand years either. It can be done within the next 100 days, which is still too long, for the sake of Commerce and Culture.
Until next time, keeps doing what is noble and just. Go ahead and have a discussion right here.
I am Warren Johnson
Email: [email protected]
Editor at Large, Mckoy’s News: the views expressed on this post are that of the writer and not that of Mckoy’s News.