The recent “Let the Music Play statements made by Jamaican Entertainment Minister Olivia’ Babsy’ Grange, while defending Parliament’s decision to allow a two-hour extension time for events, has not gone down well with some members of the public.
While addressing a function staged by the Jamaica Observer recently, Grange, in furthering her arguments relating to the temporary Amendment of the Noise Abatement Act to allow a reprieve for promoters to hold events during the Yuletide season, had noted that there are many persons who gain their livelihood during the season, which she said was a time for everyone to be considerate of others.
The amendment allows events to carry on until 2:00 am on weekdays and 4:00 am on weekends until January 31 next year.
“For now, it is the Christmas season, so let the music play,” Grange had said, among other things.
Referring to herself as ‘the champion’ for the music industry, Grange had said entertainment plays a critical role in both the economy and national identity, generating as much as US$20 million in revenue annually. She also said that the sector was the most prolific contributor to the revenue of the island’s local authorities, and was also the most significant platform on which Jamaica’s tourism is built.
But on Tuesday, readers lashed the Minister, claiming she, along with her colleagues, were supporting undesirable behaviors out of political expediency.
Some readers claimed that the entertainment fraternity should invest in their own spaces, arguing that the issue was not just about venues and lock-off times, but the ‘volume and dirty, nasty, demeaning, violent and very pornographically crude content’.
“I am sorry Miss Grange, but if you find such behaviour entertaining, then you are one of the people leading the children down a slippery slope. Please do better than that…. Anyone who is drawn to a selector squawking like an embattled bird needs to have their head checked out,” one man declared fiercely.
Another man argued that Grange and her fellow lawmakers had themselves shown disregard for the law, and were pandering to one very selfish set of the society at the expense of others.
“So it’s OK to change the law when you the Minister wants. I’ve heard so many complaints mi friends can’t sleep night time and that carries on until after 8:00 am. No minister should change any law; they should obey laws,” he said.
Another man contended that the problem stems from the fact that promoters have no respect for hardworking people and will stage parties within residential areas and blast the music at high volumes with no care for those who need a good night’s rest.
“If you complain they say you are trying to stop their food, how do you expect society to function when its citizens who work in the day are unable to sleep,’ he said.
Other readers went as far as to threaten to vote the Andrew Holness administration out of office, for their transgressions.
“Sleep deprived Jamaicans must grin and bear this onslaught. They will have their revenge come election time,” one man said, while one woman, in expressing agreement, said in addition to the noise pollution which Grange and her colleagues were encouraging, she would vote out the Government for what she described as “bad road construction planning.’
“Since the entertainers threatened to hold back their vote if they didn’t get their way, then we should also threaten to vote them out over the same thing,” she said.