EDITORIAL – Promoters will now be bound for next year
AS?WE?HAVE?SAID?BEFORE, we will not jump on the bandwagon of the bitter entertainment proprietors and promoters, pummelling the goodly Acting Chief Town Planner George Browne, or his boss Mr Mark Cummins, or their Town Planning Department officers, or VAT Office Acting Senior Auditor David Bostic for carrying out the law as originally intended.
Simply put, the newly enforced requirement of an entertainment licence could not be legally challenged successfully. The licence indeed was a requirement since 1985, as has been made clear.
We did have questions though about the timing of the enforcement.
The apparently sudden application, as it were, put a number of Crop Over fetes in jeopardy.
Enforcement deadlines under the Public Entertainment Act, in a period of four weeks, would have put some applications in an invidious position.
As we proffered less than a fortnight ago, it could not be exactly fair – least of all, comfortable – for promoters accustomed to a modus operandi in respect of public parties and shows at Crop Over to have this stipulation – though legal – thrown at them with little or no notice.
Mr Bostic has insisted that some proprietors and promoters have been blatantly refusing to comply with regulations requiring entertainment licences, despite repeated pleas from his department. Not many Crop Over “promoters” will fall into this net, seeing how they are at best “part-timers”.
We asked in the name of a truly controversy-free Crop Over that the Comptroller of Customs or the Minister of Finance consider a waiver or deferral of these public entertainment licence fees for the seasonal period, “offering continued smoothness of the festival, and affording all sides a comfortable shoo-in to the new system of licensing that is obviously rooted in law”.
We are happy to see Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler entreating the VAT?Department not to “bother” Crop Over promoters with acquiring entertainment licences this season.
After a stakeholders meeting on the matter just last week, where even the National Cultural Foundation, through its chairman, admitted an unfamiliarity with the required procedure, it seemed only reasonable to give all a chance to redeem themselves.
We trust the authorities will heed Mr Sinckler’s “generous advice”. And with it must come the understanding and acceptance by promoters and the lot that there will be no ignoring of their obligations under the law come next year.
In 2012 we should have nothing less than the letter in company with the spirit of the law.