Increase in KSAMC entertainment licence fees likely

Observer writer

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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THE licensing fees paid to the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) for entertainment events are likely to increase, Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Councillor Vernon McLeod told the council meeting last week Tuesday.

McLeod, who is the chairman of the finance committee, moved a resolution proposing amendments to the KSAMC's Places of Amusement Regulations 1999. He said that a fee of $4,500 per event was paid for 80 per cent of the 6,000 entertainment licences issued by the KSAMC per annum. The councillor said that the proposal is to increase the fee to $5,000 per annum.

He said, too, that the licensing fee for each high-end event would be increased from $15,000 to $40,000.

McLeod said that under the proposed amendment, safety and law and order are high on the list of criteria which individuals seeking entertainment licences for venues must convince the authorities they can meet.

The councillor, who said the KSAMC aimed to make Kingston the entertainment capital of the Caribbean, told the council meeting that the revision of the amusement regulations was necessary to strengthen it and make it more effective.

He said there was a concern that numerous events are being held without payment of the prescribed fees, resulting in loss of revenue to the council.

Some of the other problems he listed were lack of compliance with the conditions of approval; weak enforcement by the council and the police; regular breach of the Noise Abatement Act; safety concerns for patrons attending the events; and public disorder as recently occurred on the Palisadoes strip.

McLeod said that one way more effective enforcement and compliance could be achieved would be to strengthen the Inspection and Compliance units at the KSAMC.

Dodgers of fees due to the KSAMC and other entities should be heavily and effectively sanctioned, he said.

“More robust and timely inspection of venues by the KSAMC are needed to ensure that they are safe for patrons,” McLeod said.

Some of the ways public safety could be achieved would be to ensure that the stages at events are properly constructed and that the exits at the venues are clearly defined,“ McLeod said.

It was also necessary to have adequate security in place and, according to McLeod, “ensure that there are acceptable requirements regarding crowd control in place”.

The resolution was seconded by Councillor Dennis Gordon, People's National Party councillor for the Maxfield Park Division.

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