Commissioner suggests rethink of Noise Abatement Act

“We have to rethink the strategy of enforcing a law to the detriment of
people enjoying legitimate night activity,” Commissioner Ellington told a
leadership forum of senior police staff at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel
yesterday morning.

“We don’t make laws; that’s not what we’re supposed to do. But we can
contribute to the redefining of social order,” Ellington said, adding
that the police force can say to the Government that these laws are not
conducive to a modern society.
Ellington is the latest in a number of prominent individuals calling for
a review of the Act which requires entertainment sessions to end at
midnight on weekdays and at 2:00 am on weekends.
In March 2011, then National Security Minister Senator Dwight Nelson
announced that the Government was reviewing the legislation.
Nelson said that he and the then Culture Minister Olivia Grange were
looking at the Noise Abatement Act, the Town and Country Act and any
parish council Act in order to amend or redraft them to allow people to
enjoy themselves, “to have fun, to secure their rights to have fun
without impinging on the rights of others”.
A year before that, Public Defender Earl Witter joined the chorus of
angry voices calling for a review of the Act, arguing that some latitude
should be given to traditional community events, such as the Accompong
Town Maroon celebration and the weekly Sunday night Rae Town old hits
party where the music is not an annoyance to community members.
Yesterday, Ellington framed his recommendation against the theme of his
presentation titled ‘The Economic Value of Effective Policing’, in
which he stated that the police had a duty to ensure that the
maintenance of order does not curtail individual liberty.
He said the police are part of the State apparatus that helps to promote
domestic tranquility and assure justice, and that they are counted on
to protect life, liberty and property from criminal attack.
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