Babylon Curfew de dance

photo:The Jamaica Observer

Imagine as a child your mother storm into your room and ask you “if you think you are only one living here”. Turn down that music please. Last week Thursday The second city, Montego Bay was in the news after patrons at the weekly street dance “Japsey Thursday” block major road ways in protest of the poo poo (police) turning off the music at midnight. Scenes on the television of a torched car on Howard Cooke and burning tires.

Jamaican people block road for some of the stupidest reasons. This reminds me where last year students at Clarendon College protest because the principal cancelled “jeans day”. The road block issue came up in a conversation with some friends. Two I will say are heavy dancehall types, the other a little more moderate. The two party types all disagreed with the steps patrons took but clearly sympathized and “could see why” the actions were necessary.

The general arguments were that the police are only picking on the small man who put on a dance/stage show “fi nyam a food”. The consensus was that while the police are cracking down on the small man, big shows like the summer festivals with big names are left to run until daylight.

So the class card is pulled out here. “Babylon a victimize the ghetto youths”. To be honest although I think blocking the road for such a silly cause is unacceptable, everyone should get a fair deal. The police can not apply the rules to some while others are allowed to glide by skirting the law because they are as we say in Jamaica” genetically connected”, meaning they are the big man or know the a big man.

After having the discussion with my friends I felt like the odd man out. I wonder for a while to myself if I was the only one who thought causing major inconvenience to many people going about their jobs or normal business just because of a dance was ludicrous. To end the debate in my head I brought up the topic to 2 other co workers who are both females. They were forcefully and adamant that it was pure “phuckery” (my words) to have such major protest about a small issue.

According to the Night Noise Abatement Act:

At present Section 3 of the Noise Abatement Act, which came into effect in 1997, states that ‘…no person shall, on any private premises or in any public place at anytime of day or night (a) sing, or sound or play upon any musical or noisy instrument; or (b) operate, or permit or cause to be operated any loudspeaker, microphone or any other device for the amplification of sound, in such a manner that the sound is audible beyond 100 metres from the source of such sound and is reasonably capable of causing annoyance to persons in the vicinity’

The law is enforced by the poo poo (police) that the music must be turned off by 12 midnight on week nights and 2: am on weekends. I don’t know all the mumbo jumbo , but I do think you must get a permit to put on a major event. My understanding is that this permit also states the parameters under which promoters can operate, such as ending the event at the prescribe times where they apply.

The world operates base on different time zones and Jamaica is no different. We have internalized our very own “Jamaican Time” being fashionably and patriotically late. Just think about it. If you go to most events in Jamaica rearly do they start on time.Even the evening news on television are notoriously late and they stamp it with a time signal to prove it. In Jamaica 12 midnight is really 2 am Jamaican time, and 2 am is really 4 am Jamaican time.

Personally I think the times are too early. Just imagine the ire of the patrons who bling out “fi de video light” promptly arrive at midnight only to find out that the party is over. Regardless of how much ones feelings might have been hurt the law is the law. Going back to the permit I talked about earlier. These permits show the time when the partying must sadly end. I am not surprise that promoters flaunt their noise at them. The truth is that these laws have barely been enforced until recently.

In Jamaica where crime is a problem, dancehall is a certain linkage. I think this directly contribute to it now being a target by law enforcement. The amount of knives and machetes the cops pick up at some dance or stage shows its no wonder they target them. Occasional guns are picked up also. I saw on television a police said he got wind that there would be a gun salute which prompted their surprise visit. I don’t know if it’s wise to divulge such information even after the fact on TV, but that’s another matter. Anyone familiar with Jamaican music know that that it is common for people to “bus a shot” when a big tune play, a gun salute. Even the symbolic gun gesture with the hand to mimic a gun salute is well known in our culture.

The music is a major part of not just our rich vibrant sometimes destructive culture, but also plays a major role in the economy. For many small men and women who juggle or hustle for a living.

Many promoters are feeling the pinch of the old law with new teeth. Many are now complaining of loosing many patrons who come after midnight, selling way less liquor and also not even getting enough footage for the DVD sales. This has caused some promoters to be canceling their weekly shows until further notice. Jamaican people are very creative and will find ways to overcome the odds.


~ by RB on April 22, 2008.

4 Responses to “Babylon Curfew de dance”

  1. Interesting post Dutty Bwoy!Definitely, and without a doubt, the law is the law, and people(Jamaicans) must respect and adhere to the rule of law.By the same token, the Jamaica Constabulary must apply the law in a uniform manner irrespective of social class.

  2. thank you

  3. Where do i gog to get a permit to host an event in a commercial area such as new kingston?

  4. I believe u must contact the New Kingston police to get a permit.

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