M embers of the Jamaica Constabulary Force have been demanding money from some show promoters for them to prolong their entertainment events beyond the stipulated 2:00 am cut-off time for weekend events, the Jamaica Observer can report.
Some show promoters have complained to the Sunday Observer regarding the “unreasonable” demands made by some policemen who often enter events and insist on payment or a shutdown of sound systems or bands.
In one undercover operation conducted by the Sunday Observer last December, two policemen were seen collecting money from a show promoter, who demanded that funds be provided or the show would be stopped.
The promoter, who will not be named because of potential repercussions, and who stages events regularly, invited the Sunday Observer to an event for the paper to see for itself just how police personnel operate whenever he puts on fund-raisers.
“Watch this one now … come right roun this corner and see what going happen,” he told the Sunday Observer journalist as a police patrol car parked and one policeman walked towards him close to the entrance.
Within 90 seconds, the cop was on his way out, paid $30,000 in order to keep the music at a certain decibel. The Sunday Observer was shown the money and told of the plan even before the policemen arrived on the scene.
Less than two hours later, another police team arrived at the venue. “We have to lock down dis now boss,” one said to the promoter. “But wa yuh can do fi we?” he asked. The promoter told him that he had already “dealt with” another policeman. “Bway boss, me no business wid dat you nuh,” was the answer from the man who swore to protect and serve.
Quickly, a further $20,000 had to be forked out and the police party was on its way.
“These are the things that we have to go through anytime we put on a show or hold a party,” the promoter said.
“For this event we set aside in our budget a total of $100,000 to deal with the police because we know that they are going to come and harass us. We appoint one person to deal with the police and that person keeps the money at all times.
“The police always come long before the cut-off time to say all kinds of things, for example like the music too loud, or the neighbours complaining about the quality of music or too much ganja smoking or things like that. So if you don’t give them some money, then we can’t let the event go on so that we can sell off our food and liquor, because there is a tendency for Jamaicans, especially the young ones, to come to these events late. Some people want to come to a dance, for example, when it is supposed to end and they are some of the ones who spend a lot of money,” the promoter said.
Two other show and party promoters revealed to the Sunday Observer that they too have had to fork out money to the police to keep their functions going.
One of them has called on Government to relax the times allowed for the staging of such activities, so that people can enjoy themselves more, and the police would not have to be a determining factor.
“I can understand that when you stage some events in populated areas, there will be some people who will be affected by the sounds and to be fair to them they have a right not to be disturbed, but when it comes to certain venues, like the National Stadium or the National Arena for example, the sounds do not travel that much, so some adjustments can be made,” one said.
Up to late February and early March two show promoters told the Sunday Observer that they had to pay police personnel “extra” to keep their events going beyond 2:00 am because patrons had just started to enter in droves.
One superintendent of police who spoke to the Sunday Observer but who asked not to mention his name, confirmed that the practice had been going on for “very long” and it was left up to the organisers to put an end to it.
“The promoters have to stop it, because some police personnel will not, unless some sort of sting operations are set up,” the veteran crime-fighter stated. “Until the law changes, the organisers and promoters must comply, or else the practice will continue, because of the unscrupulous nature of some members of the Force,” he said