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The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment is proposing the introduction of parish extension committees to hear and grant extensions on entertainment permits.

The Ministry is working on amendments to the Noise Abatement Act to contain the provision. The process involves collaboration with the Ministries of National Security, Local Government and Community Development, and Youth and Culture.

In his contribution to the 2013/2014 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 2, State Minister for Tourism, Hon. Damion Crawford, said the proposal is for the six-member committees to review additions to the stipulated time during which entertainment events can legally proceed.

The State Minister informed that at present, extension requests are sent to the Minister with responsibility for Entertainment, who may have little knowledge of the local realities.

“The committee would therefore provide broader community input in the decision-making process for the…dance/event approvals and alleviate perceptions of bias or collusion in the procedure. We believe that the introduction of the six-person parish appellate committee will provide increased transparency to the extension granting process,” Mr. Crawford said.

The proposed parish committees will include: a representative from the police division such as the divisional commander or a designate; a lay magistrate/Justice of the Peace; a parish council representative; an entertainment/event representative; a lay citizen such as a member of the clergy or parish development committee; and a non-voting recording secretary for the committee.

The police indicate that between January 1 and December 31, 2012, it received 22,122 applications for events/dances across the island, and granted approval to 19,555, making the approval rate 88 per cent.

Contact: Latonya Linton