Babsy acts against noise

Babsy acts against noise

Associate Editor --
Auto & Entertainment

Thursday, December 05, 2019

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ENTERTAINMENT and Culture Minister Olivia "Babsy" Grange says the Government has begun work on a Corporate Area venue to host events beyond restriction of the Noise Abatement Act.

Grange was speaking to guests Tuesday evening during Reggae Month 2020's media launch, at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston. Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett; Mike Henry, Member of Parliament for Central Clarendon; as well as City of Miramar Vice Mayor Alexandra Davis, were also in attendance.

"We have started building out Fort Rocky as an entertainment zone. Work has actually started and we have identified other locations; a location in Negril, in Trelawny, and in Portmore where we are going to build out facilities to host entertainment. You all know the issue of the Noise Abatement," she said to applause.

"So we are ensuring that there are facilities across the island where you can have your events. So if you want to do it 24/7, you'll be free to do so," she continued.

No details of the costs associated with the projects were given.

Constructed during World War II, Fort Rocky, now in ruins, is located in Port Royal, Kingston. It was built to prevent German invasion on the island, then owned by Great Britain.

In a follow-up interview with the Jamaica Observer, Grange gave a timeline for Fort Rocky's restoration.

"It will be available for February to host events... one of those events will be Sound System Echoes," she said.

Last summer, the Noise Abatement Act's enforcement was a contentious issue for party promoters, as several high-profile events were affected. The Act stipulates that outdoor entertainment events must conclude by 12:00 am on weekdays and by 2:00 am on weekends.

Promoters, arguing that those times cut into their business, launched the 'No Music, No Vote' initiative and went public with their grouse.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness urged promoters to respect the law and citizens whose rest is being disturbed by high decibel levels of sound systems.

The police high command, as well as Security Minister Horace Chang and Grange, held separate meetings with sound system operators and selectors.

In September, while attending the weekly Boasy Tuesdays dance in Kingston, Chang promised that government would make some concessions. He has made no follow-up statement.

At the launch, Grange said next year, she plans to introduce an insurance fund for musicians and artistes. The programme will be a partnership with Jamaica Reggae Industry Association, Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates, and Jamaica Federation of Musicians.

"It'll cover life, health, maternity and pension," she told the gathering.

She also revealed that a feature of next year's Reggae Month will be on children of music icons and emerging acts.

The occasion saw live performances from Sean Paul, Richie Spice, Jesse Royal, Chi Ching Ching, Ras Ajai as well as emerging acts Azalineage and Shienna. Dynamix Team and Afro Jam Tribe, winners and first runners-up in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's 2019 World Dance Champion, respectively, also performed.

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