Music Industry players frown on crime plan - Says new strategy affecting event permits
With some sections of the country currently grappling with an upsurge in violence, the police have taken the decision to deny or restrict permits that are granted for events held in some troublesome areas.
The decision has seen members of the music industry crying foul, but commanding officer for St Andrew South, superintendent Arthur Brown, told The Gleaner that the clampdown is intended to curtail crime in volatile areas.
However, councillor for the Molynes division, Patrick Roberts, is of the view that inner-city communities largely benefit from hosting events. In contrast to the belief of the police, Roberts also thinks that if more parties and dances were held in most of these areas, it will help to minimise violence.
"Most of these events are what they use to send their children to school, because most of these persons are unemployed," he said.
Legendary dancer Gerald 'Bogle' Levy was killed at a gas service station on January 20, 2005 while leaving an event. So, too, was popular producer Patrick 'Roach' Samuels, who met his demise at Mary Brown's corner in 2013 as he left an event. David Alexander Smith, popularly known as 'Ice', also a former Roses Crew member and associate of Bogle, was also killed in 2008 after he attended an event.
Whether the above-mentioned murders were shared coincidence or proof that the police do have a legitimate point, popular selector Boom Boom continues to back the hosting of events.
The selector, who was also brutally attacked and beaten as he left an event in 2010, told The Gleaner that the police are exaggerating the capacity for events to facilitate criminal activities.
"When last you go to an event and see people a fight or a give gun salute? Parties make peace in the ghetto and creates unity, plus make money. I play at a lot of events and all I see is peace. crime might occur around the events, but it does not usually affect the event or its supporters. Tourists attend all these hardcore events in the ghetto and they walk through some of the most violent communities and nobody not even look pan dem. They are more likely to protect them ... plus, we have police at venues to protect us," he said.
The top-flight selector said he believes the police ought to increase their presence at parties if they are indeed concerned about the safety of patrons.
"To say you are locking off events, you are stopping people food. You can say you want to protect us, then you want us to stay in our houses and dead fi hungry. If people did a dead inna dance you would have seen it in the news," he said.
Superintendent Brown, who was tight-lipped about the police's 'Zones of Special Operation initiative', told The Gleaner, in very few words, that the force is committed to its decision to issue fewer permits to violent areas.
"Once there is an increase of violence in certain areas, we will not issue any permits ... once we cannot guarantee that there will be stability in the area," he said.
Volatile areas like Tivoli and Fletcher's Land were once the homes of events like Passa Passa and Dutty Fridays, respectively. However, there were no notable reports of murders or other criminal activities due to the location of those events during their successful runs.