No Music, No Vote! - Ricky Trooper leads lobby for later lock-off times for events
Selector Ricky Trooper is leading an appeal to the Government to make changes to the Noise Abatement Act, which dictates strict lock-off times for events, and according to him, impacts on the dancehall community negatively. Trooper has started a 'No Music, No Vote' movement that is gaining traction on social media.
"We have been fighting for this for many years; all this come from the Noise Abatement Act, which pass from 1997, and we been a fight to get it amended, but some people from the industry who have a voice, but never did a help we, the fire catch ah dem doorstep and sake ah dat dem a mek noise now."
He continued: "Dem ah try tek di ting up a notch to advocate for the change to the act and ah propose meeting with police, but a nuh police control dis, ah di government suh this ah one way to get them attention."
Trooper claims that there are double standards in the implementation of the Act.
"Certain events like the Dream Weekends and Carnival don't appear to have any curfew time, dem do what dem want do any time it have backing of the upper class...but when it come to lower class people den ah one big problem start. The whole Act waan look into."
The No Music, No Vote' movement has attracted the attention of industry players islandwide, who, like Ricky Trooper, believe events should be held up to 2 a.m. on a weekday, and up to 4 a.m. on the weekends. At present, the cut-off time for events on weekdays is 12 a.m., and 2 a.m. on weekends.
Main weapon is music
"When it comes on to politics, the main weapon is music. No PNP or JLP rally happen without the music; dem [politicians] have to use it to inject the energy to rile up di people so when dem go on the stage dem have dem attention," Trooper said.
"None ah dem can go on a stage ah chat, chat, chat the whole day or night. Dem use the music to make dem speech inject certain songs to share a message. So why use the music when you need the vote and after that you spit pon it?"
Veteran dancehall artistes like Bounty Killer and Baby Cham have added their voice on the matter of events getting a fight.
"Police, government, authorities etc, be careful of how you treat the common man, mid class or poor people; everybody's lives and their livelihood matters not just yours, Enough being said, poor people fed up from bout '95," Bounty Killer wrote on social media.
Likewise Baby Cham in a similar post said, "Too long dancehall and reggae music been fighting for our rights; they take our music and they use it, and use the artistes to promote Jamaica and the tourism."
Opposition Senator Dr Andre Haughton, who says he supports dancehall 100 per cent, told The STAR that the 12 a.m. lock off time remains unrealistic.
"So much of the country's overall economy depends on the entertainment industry, and as a result, things should be done to enhance it and explore its full potential."
"Lots of attempts are being made to move party time to earlier hours but not even that have taken off. The world is moving on a 24-hour clock and if we trying for a more developed framework, we need to be thinking how to make the country open up while securing it."