Not enough facilities, too many overheads - Club owners say Security Minister’s suggestion good but not calculated

December 13, 2019
Patrons enjoying the vibe inside Fiction nightclub.
Brian 'Ribbi' Chung

National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang’s recommendations to business persons to build and invest in more indoor facilities, specifically nightclubs, has been met with mixed reactions.

The suggestion is part of the discussion regarding the Noise Abatement Act, as the various stakeholders seek a common ground.

Speaking to THE WEEKEND STAR, Brian ‘Ribbi’ Chung, owner of Ribbiz Ocean Lounge and Ribbiz Ultra Lounge, expressed that while the idea of reinvesting in nightclubs is significantly beneficial to the economy, there are several factors that professionals like event promoters would have to take into consideration.

Chung said: “I don’t think there are adequate amounts of enclosed facilities available in the Corporate Area that are suitable for the nightclub environment.”

As a former owner of popular clubs, Asylum and Quad, Chung said that the party climate is different from previous years.

“With an enclosed entertainment space, there are additional costs for air conditioning, electricity and security every night a place is open. The overheads are higher for persons who have owned or still own businesses,” he said. “For promoters and other business persons to invest in clubs versus a party once every quarter, there is a bit of apprehension because of the risks. A nightclub owner puts up an enormous amount of money not knowing if it is going to take off. I think with what (Entertainment) Minister Grange said in regards to the various entertainment zones will be a better complement for Jamaica’s party climate.”

He said future discussions should be focused on implementing methods or engaging people to get to the parties earlier and on time.

Multitude of events

General manager of Marketplace Entertainment Centre for the Arts (MECA) in Kingston, Ahkeel Bryan, expressed that with the implementation of the Noise Abatement Act, there are benefits of owning a club or space equipped to host a multitude of events.

“MECA is not necessarily a nightclub but we have club nights; we describe it as a multipurpose venue utilised by (everyone from) entertainment industry professionals to churches. The benefits of indoor facilities range from security, to parking and bathroom facilities. Yes, there is no threat of a lock-off time and vibe being affected by the presence of policemen. But the challenges are about the same with any indoor venue,” Bryan told THE WEEKEND STAR.

Bryan opined that the idea of entertainment zones and centres has been overlooked.

“Remember outdoor parties are part of the dancehall culture. Next we must learn from past club owners that the spaces must accommodate or incorporate a diverse scope of entertainment and while doing so, don’t expect it to run like an outdoor event,” he said.

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