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Entertainment rakes in big revenue for St James PC

Published:Saturday | February 18, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:The business of entertainment in Montego Bay plays an integral role in the operations of the St James Parish Council as the revenue from licence fees assists in managing the township.

On any given night, the tourism capital is abuzz with entertainment activities. Parties and other entertainment events each night have become a regular staple in the Second City, with the activities doubling when the weekend draws closer.

"Actual revenues from amusement fees between April 2010 and March 2011 amounted to $3,397,900," Winston Palmer, secretary manager at the St James Parish Council, revealed.

"This amount grew by $319,100 when compared to the same time in the previous year as between April 2009 and March 2010, the earnings received was $3,078,800."

The local authority has projected that they will rake in some $4,517,000 between April 2011 and March 2012 for licence fees from entertainment events.

Fees range from $2,700 to as much as $10,200, depending on the number of patrons expected to atend the event.

"It helps to promote public order and allows for compliance with the regulations and public safety. Inspections are carried out by the council, St James Fire Department, and Health Department to ensure public safety. This assists the council in enforcing the places-of-amusement regulations, under which the fees are set," Palmer explained.

He also stated that seminars are held quarterly in St James as part of the Mayor's Forum series in a bid to sensitise stakeholders on the importance of the licence fees and the benefits to the parish.

In a recent vox pop, Trelawny Chamber of Commerce president, Richard Burke, said Jamaica should capitalise on entertainment tourism.

"There are a lot of op-portunities on the table that need to be explored, not only in the form of big festivals, but also smaller events with foreign and local acts," Burke said.

"Only Negril is making an attempt to make this work. Ocho Rios and Montego Bay need to work harder to find smaller grounds to have more frequent live shows. Falmouth would also benefit from live shows being held in the town square to lure visitors from off the pier into the town."