Amid a state of emergency, instituted to curve rising gun crimes, the Jamaican state has granted a special extension to party promoters until January 31, 2020.
This means events will be able to operate until 2:00 am weekdays and 4:00 am on weekends under the revised rule.
Security minister Dr Horace Chang on Wednesday made the announcement during a press briefing at Jamaica House after the Noise Abatement (Temporary Amendment Act) 2019 bill, was passed in parliament the day before.
The security minister said the new bill will facilitate “an extension” of events throughout the yuletide season and will end on January 31, 2020.
“This bill will standardise operations of the entertainment and music industry, as it provides a framework for events to last until 2:00 a.m. during the week and 4:00 a.m. on the weekend.”
Prior to this bill businesses and events were prohibited from operating beyond 11:00 pm.
Reacting to the new development, Old Harbour party promoters Fitzroy Goulbourn and Paul Cardoza welcome the announcement.
“We greatly appreciate the move by the prime minister and his team because, trust me, we have been suffering. No matter how we try get out the party people early and on time it has proven futile for us. So this is welcoming news… and for all those who have events,” said Goulbourn, promoter of the popular Absolute Crave brand.
“This whole SOE have impacted us negatively in terms of entertainment,” Goulbourn added. “When you invest and you can’t see your return on your investment it’s not a pleasant feeling because of the whole stipulation or ban that is placed on us. We appreciate the extra two hours; many persons won’t understand what the extra two hours can do to an event.”
Cardoza, who goes by the moniker ‘Gaps 7G’ and hosts of the annual all white party in the month of January, said: “We are excited about it and we appreciate the extension. Most people were looking forward to it due to the holidays and you have a lot of overseas people travelling.
“People coming from all over for the holidays, England, Canada, the US and they all want to come to the party because Jamaica is the party central.”
The US national, who will host his ‘White Pan Tap A White’ event January 2, added: “Hopefully the weekend stipulation goes for the holiday itself because when you look at it Christmas day and New Year’s Day fall on a Wednesday which is during the week, so hopefully they make an exception for that and keep it to the 4:00 am as will be done for the weekend.
“It’s not that we are trying to push it, but it’s a holiday and hopefully it is in effect as the weekend.”
Meantime, Dr Chang noted that party promoters must not exceed the decibel levels as prescribed under the law.
“The professionals who organize these events must put in place the necessary measure to ensure that the level of the sound does not cause disturbance. If they do the public order regulation will be enforced without any hesitation. In plain language, if you exceed the sound levels and disturb the citizens in neighbouring areas, despite having the permission to go until four (o’clock in after midnight), the police will have the right to lock you down,” said the security minister.