The Noise Abatement Act addresses musical events
Jamaica's Noise Abatement Act was passed in 1997. Since then, many in the music industry say its enactment, as far as they are concerned, has resulted in a myriad of woes.
On the other hand, the police who are charged with the role of enforcement, have blamed errant party promoters and sound system operators for causing tension between themselves and the authorities due to many instances of non-observance of the law.
There are specific sections of the act which directly address the conduct of party promoters. Section three speaks to the issue of 'Noise from private premises and public places'.
It notes that "no person shall, on any private premises or in any public place at any time of day or night, sing, or sound or play upon any musical or noisy instrument; or 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 a distance of 100 metres from the source of such sound and is reasonably capable of causing annoyance to persons in the vicinity."
It also adds that where, during 2 a.m., and 6 a.m., on a Saturday or Sunday; and midnight on a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and "6 o'clock in the following morning", such sound is audible beyond that distance 100 metres in the vicinity of any dwelling house, hospital, nursing home, infirmary, hotel or guest house, "such sound shall be presumed to cause annoyance to persons in that vicinity."
Protocols for staging parties and musical events are also addressed in Section five of the act. It states that "where a person intends to operate any specified equipment to provide music for dancing or any other form of entertainment in a public place, in circumstances where such music is reasonably capable of disturbing any person occupying or residing in any private premises, the person is to make a written application to the Superintendent of Police in charge of the division" in which the activity will be held, for permission to do so.
This application, it says, should be made at least 10 clear days before the event date. "The Superintendent of Police may upon receipt of an application, refuse to grant permission or may grant such permission subject to such conditions as he may specify in writing: so, however, that no permission shall be granted for the operation of specified equipment in the vicinity of any hospital, nursing home or infirmary," it noted.
The act also speaks to appealing against a refusal of an event permit by the commanding officer for a police division. "A person aggrieved by a decision of the Superintendent of Police refusing to grant permission or any condition subject to which permission is granted, may within seven days after the date of that decision, appeal in writing to the Commissioner of Police, who may revoke, vary or confirm such decision subject to such conditions as he deems necessary," it noted.
It also added that persons found to be in contravention shall be guilty of an offence and could be fined up to $100,000 or, in default of payment, to imprisonment for up to six months.