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Noise pollution severely affecting tourists and local residents – Robinson

Published:Sunday | June 30, 2019 | 12:00 AMAlbert Ferguson - Gleaner Writer
Omar Robinson, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association.

Omar Robinson, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), says guests vacationing across the resort cities and towns are being severely disturbed by noise pollution from late-night entertainment events.

Robinson raised the vexed issue yesterday at the 58th annual general meeting and convention of the association at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St James.

“Noise pollution continues to impact members in the hotel sector negatively,” he said. “At present, hotels and the local citizenry suffer from all manner of noisy events, going into the wee hours of the morning, some of which are held without permits.”

Robinson said that visitors have complained bitterly about the inability to sleep, caused by loud music, and that while the present law is hardly ever properly enforced, “it at least gives the police the ability to intervene should we call them”.

He said that members of the JHTA have complained that they have lost revenue and had to compensate guests for their sleepless nights.

“Let it be clear that JHTA supports the entertainment sector as it is an important component of our tourism product,” said Robinson. “They fill our rooms at various times of the year with both overseas and local visitors. However, both must be able to co-exist and not one at the expense of the other.”

He said that the newly created entertainment zones should be used to host entertainment events so as not to cause discomfort to both visitors and locals alike.

Tourism minister Edmund Bartlett noted that “on Wednesday morning (July 3), I have a meeting with the public order committee under the chairmanship of national security minister Dr Horace Chang, and we will be looking very seriously at the Noise Abatement Act and the issues that have been raised by the sector itself and all the players.”

Minister of Culture and Entertainment Oliver Grange is also a member of the committee.

“We are very concerned that the balance must be preserved because we recognise that it’s also an income source. It is a means by which many people, and small people in particular, provide livelihood to take care of their children and their families,” Bartlett added.

“At the same time, we are fully recognising that the purpose for people’s vacation is for rest and recuperation and that the whole business of the violation of their right to peaceful and safe and extended sleep is to be recognised and respected.”