This one takes the cake, the bakery, the whole thing...
MONTEGO BAY, St James - A strong police/military presence was maintained along sections of Barnett Street and Barnett Lane up to late yesterday evening following a massive demonstration by patrons attending the popular 'Japsey Thursday' dance which was shut down at midnight by cops. Thursday night's police action, in accordance with the Night Noise Abatement Act, took some patrons, who normally attend the popular dance after midnight, by surprise. The sound was locked off by the cops before the dance got into full swing, much to the ire of the patrons.
Yesterday morning, traffic was forced to a standstill after the angry demonstrators mounted numerous blockages which they lit afterwards. Early morning commerce suffered in that area of the town as most business establishments were forced to keep their doors closed later.
Under the Night Noise Abatement Act, entertainment sessions are allowed to go until midnight on week days and until 2:00 am on weekends. One week ago, the hierarchy of the Area One Police Division, who have adopted what they described as a zero-tolerance approach toward offenders of the Night Noise Abatement Act, invited all promoters to a meeting where they sensitised them to the consequences of breaches of the act.
But the patrons are in opposition to the law which, they argue, is "unreasonable", and are demanding a "compromise". "It can't work so. Nuff enemy from all bout come here and them haffi hold them order and know say a so it a go, you see it. So wha mek them come turn off the sound 12 midnight?" one patron fumed yesterday morning. "You don't know how me feel when me see 12 o'clock and me no ready yet and sound turn off when nothing no start yet. A foolishness."
But Deputy Superintendent of Police Paul Stanton defended the cops' actions. They (promoters) were sensitised. It is not that it came upon them suddenly, they were told unconditionally," Stanton said. "For every permit that was issued, there is time stipulation that governs the staging of such functions. So last night, we turned off the music at midnight and the people took to the streets in protest this morning."
The patrons had high praises for 'Japsey Thursday', which has been running for the past four months. They claim that no illegal activity is allowed at the dance.
Now, seriously folks...is this not why we cyan reach nowhere in this country?? My favourite sections of the article are highlighted in red. Let no-one fool you...we Jamaicans are very serious about our entertainment. No guy cyan come roun' 'ere and lock off no %$@# dance...yuzimi?
When did the fact that "no illegal activity is allowed at the dance" become a point of supporting the breaking of the law? Twisted does not even begin to describe this 'logic'. The fact that there is a law, and the law puts certain requirements on the promoter apparently means nothing. But the truth is, with these things, that the blame rests squarely on the authorities, because since the passing of the Noise Abatement Act, the amount of dances etc, that breach it has multiplied significantly. It is probably fair to say that there is a dance every night of the week in Jamaica, in most major towns/cities. They didn't start overnight. Nope, they started slowly, incrementally and citizens probably called in and complained to the police and the police did nothing and so they took hold. Had the police simply acted at the time, this phenomenon of dancing 7 days a week would not have grown. Now we are trying to cut down the tree after its roots have spread deep and wide.
There are legitimate interests here...the interest of people to enjoy themselves and be entertained. How do we accommodate those interests without infringing on a superior interest, namely the interest in not being disturbed? Not sure...indoor events will have to resume their place in the spectrum, I guess. Those infringe on other people's rights to a far lesser extent than outdoor ones, which from personal experience, are capable of sending you into the abyss of madness. The state does not have a hand in providing an alternative; let the promoters sort that out. All the state has to do is maintain a correct balance in protection of the wider social interest, and they have finally started to do so, at least to this limited extent.
Now to move on to the open-air bawl out clap han' 'churches' and such like...