The ten-year ban on the playing of loud music in St Lawrence Gap after 3 a.m. is to be revisited by the new Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Government, Acting Minister of Tourism Colin Jordan has said.
He made the revelation this week, while contending that a way must be found for hoteliers, residents and nightclub operators along the popular south coast strip to co-exist.
Jordan, who spoke to reporters after delivering the feature address at the annual general meeting of the Intimate Hotel Groups on Wednesday, explained that St Lawrence Gap was a key peg in Government’s plan to breathe new life into the entertainment industry.
“Everything is being re-looked. All legislation is being examined, because we have to make sure that in St Lawrence Gap, for example, the entertainment entities can co-exist with the accommodation entities,” Jordan said.
Back in 2008, then Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin, using Section 37A of the Highway Act Chapter 289, ordered that all music to be lowered at 2 a.m., and must cease entirely an hour later in the popular party circuit.
The decision came as a result of numerous complaints from hoteliers that the noise from the entertainment clubs was disturbing their guests.
At the time, residents had also complained that their elderly were being kept up late at night, especially during karaoke sessions.
However, the decision to shut off all music by 3 a.m. did not sit well with the club owners who predicted the death of the St Lawrence Gap entertainment industry. At the time, club owners had strongly argued that partygoers usually came out at 12:30 a.m.; therefore their businesses would suffer from the 3 a.m. shutdown.
However, while acknowledging that finding a middle ground would be difficult, Jordan said a revival of St Lawrence Gap was needed.
“We realize that St Lawrence [Gap] is unique in that it has both entertainment and accommodation, so one cannot drive out the other. We have to be sensitive in how we go forward and this Government must engage all stakeholders. We must listen to people and then we make decisions,” he said.
In response to Jordan’s comments, community activist Adrian Donovan told Barbados TODAY he fully agreed with the need to take a fresh look at the cut off time for the playing of loud music in St Lawrence Gap. He contended that over the past decade, the Gap had lost much of its nocturnal entertainment appeal.
“St Lawrence Gap has always been a party spot, but over the last ten years most of the clubs have not been doing so well. Many of them have changed ownership so many times. It really needs to be looked at,” Donovan said.
Like the acting tourism minister, he suggested that consultation was key. He also suggested that Government should mandate all clubs to invest in sound proofing in an effort to curtail noise levels.
“Apart from the cut off time for the music, Government has to look at parking because years ago when the Gap was swinging, people used to park on both sides of the street and even block people’s driveway. Also, we want the police outpost to be functioning again. All these things have to be looked as at well,” he added.