Sounding Off - Sound system owner heads to Parliament

Sunday, January 08, 2012

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KEITH Walford, owner of sound system Bass Odyssey, has now turned his attention to the political arena. In the December 29 general election, he defeated his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) counterpart, Ernest Smith, to win the St Ann South West seat for the People's National Party. And, he is now ready for new challenges.

He said the decision to enter representational politics was not taken lightly and was made after weeks of self-searching and prayer.

"I took a few weeks to make up my mind. I had to give it serious thought," he explained. He said among the things he pondered at the outset was how he was going to serve effectively while being so involved other things.

Among his involvement are: president of the St Ann Cricket Association and the community's youth club; director of the Jamaica Cricket Board as well as owner and operator of Odyssey Cable Vision.

The motivating factor in running for office, however, though was his own dissatisfaction with the level of service being given to the constituency.

"I entered politics mainly because I didn't think the community was served properly. I was very unhappy with the level of representations," said Walford, who started in his sound system in 1989.

He hopes to make a big difference both in his constituency and to the music industry.

He said he is far from happy with the Noise Abatement Act implemented in March 1997.

"I think that more things can be done to facilitate the playing of sound systems. It's a part of our culture. First thing to look at are creative zones that they can play in freely," he said. He, however, explained that he will be "observing and then see what I can do".

"I have never been to Parliament, so I will be very careful and doing my homework on the different issues to see how I can help to give the music more recognition which it deserves," Walford said.

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