Montague upset over bell ringing prohibition in new Act
A provision in the Local Governance Act 2015 has irked Opposition spokesman on Local Government Robert Montague who has accused the governing People’s National Party of trying to silence the ringing of the bell by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), during election campaigns.
The bell is the symbol of the JLP.
Montague complained bitterly about a section of the bill which gives the local authorities the power to prohibit or regulate the ringing of bells in public places, among other things.
He accused the government of politicizing the bill in a vulgar way.
The provision authorises the parish councils to prohibit or regulate public cries, advertising noises, steam whistles, bill posting and the ringing of bells, in any thoroughfare or public place, and the establishment of silence zones.
Montague made the complaint while contributing to debate on the Local Governance Act 2015 and two other companion bills seeking to provide the framework for the comprehensive reform of Jamaica’s local government system.
Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding, who piloted the bill, dismissed the accusations.
Attempting to bring clarity to the matter, Golding explained that the prohibition of the ringing of bells was contained in the Kingston and St Andrew Act of 1931, which predated the establishment of both political parties.
All three bills were eventually passed.