Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness has proposed the introduction of 24hr entertainment zones in wake of the recent complaints about Dancehall events being shut down.
The Prime Minister announced that he and his Government have been examining the possibility of establishing special zones where Reggae/Dancehall events can be held 24 hours per day if desired.
Holness’ comments follow a wave of protest from Dancehall fans and stakeholders on social media after several events were reportedly shut down by cops in the corporate area in recent weeks.
“It could never be the intention of Government to, in any way stifle the culture which is necessary, necessary for the development of our people. We hear the cries of the entertainment community; we hear the cries of the dancehall community. We hear the cries of the artistes the entertainers, the sound system operators; we hear,” the Prime Minister said.
“But as a society evolves, as society grows and develops, we must find a consensus on order. Order is the basis on which everyone can grow, and not just grow, but thrive. And I believe that there is a way to allow the sound system operator, the musician and the entertainer to have their parties if they want to party up till 5 o’ clock by the way – 5am. Then so let it be; it’s an industry, but in my own constituency, where I have embraced this and created a Hip Strip, were we have parties for every day of the week, I still have to deal with the nurse who comes to me and say: ‘listen, I work at KPH and I cannot sleep,” he further explained.
Holness went on to propose the implentation of special zones consisting of modern entertainment venues which would compromise with other members of society.
“Minister Grange can tell you that two years ago I said to her: ‘we need to establish special entertainment zones and we need to make the investments in these zones, call them ‘creative Oases’ where people can go and party from sunrise to sunset to sunrise again, where they have all the provisions necessary for security, for parking, proper stage because we need to embrace it, because that is the only way we are going to ensure that the culture does not cave in on itself.”
However, the Prime Minister went on to emphasize that a compromise is absolutely essential, as the Government’s policies cannot favor one group while neglecting the cries of another.
“It is the reality, and as the leader of the Government at this point
in time, we cannot just make decisions by virtue of who has the loudest
voice and the most influential advocates. We have to make decisions
that are fair and respectful of the rights of all citizen,” he said.
“So I am receiving the messages, and I am receiving the calls; some are very extreme, not seeking to have any compromise. But I am seeing where emerging there are voices of reason in the entertainment community who are saying ‘we understand Prime Minister, we understand and there are ways to do it’” Holness added.