by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 13 May 2007)
Newsflash to all citizens of Guyana: The government has said it will take quick action against the noise problems that torment so many law-abiding people.
I am so excited about this news that I could turn my stereo up full blast and get my groove on.
Okay, I admit that I am one of those annoying people who love to listen to the music full blast while driving in the car. Not all of the time, mind you, but there are just times when I need to cut loose and have some fun while running mundane errands.
My children have always enjoyed these musical outbursts and we dance and have fun while driving around town. However, I am always very careful to adjust the volume of my stereo before I enter a residential area. I tell my children it is time to act like civilised folk and turn the music down to a more respectable level.
Moreover, my teenagers have never been allowed to play their music above what can be heard in one room. One time I returned home to find one of my boys playing his music full blast in the yard as he did something else outside. Needless to say, he was severely chastised and the music was confiscated for a brief time to reinforce the error of his ways.
The other day I was doing some yard work when a neighbour’s teenage son came home from school with his music blaring. I assumed it would be turned off when he parked his car – I was wrong. He stayed by his car talking to his friends while the music continued to boom around the neighbourhood. I was quite annoyed.
My annoyance had to do with the fact that yard work is a relaxing time for me, but it is difficult to relax when the words of a rap song (of which contained many curse words and was demeaning to women) were searing my ears.
The problem in Guyana is far deeper than just one rude teen though. There are actually entire business establishments and even places of worship being rude to their neighbours. I received an email from one woman in March who seemed to be at her wits end about an ongoing noise problem from a nearby Hindu Temple.
Who can blame her? I would feel the same way if my home was subjected to noise pollution on a constant basis and the police did little or nothing to correct the situation. There have been countless letters to the newspapers about the noise booming from churches, clubs, cars, etc. There have also been plenty of editorials, news stories and complaints galore to the government and the police.
This is not just a recent problem either; it has been going on for several years now. Maybe the murder rate in Guyana would decline if the citizens were able to get a decent night’s sleep without noise interruption. I am one of those people who simply must have eight hours of sleep or I cannot function properly.
Ah, I bet this is why the PPP is so slow to do anything of consequence for the nation. They are just tired because they are not getting enough sleep due to the noise nuisance. Poor babies. If this is the case, the people of Guyana should work night and day (since it is impossible to sleep anyhow) to make sure their government officials finally get the rest they need.
Or better yet, maybe the government should be working night and day to fix this problem. Oh yeah, that is the way it suppose to work, isn’t it? The government works for the people – not the other way around. With the way things are going in the world I forget that important point of democracy sometimes (and it seems the PPP does too).
Somehow I don’t really think those governing the nation are losing sleep because of the noise level in their neighbourhoods. Maybe it is their guilty consciences that keep them awake at night. Nah. Oh, I know. I bet it is all of that partying. You know, the parties with the loud music that keep the rest of the nation awake.
No matter, this week Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee, promised “expeditious action to address the issue of loud music.” Since we all know that Rohee is always very quick to make good on his promises, I’m sure everyone will be able to rest a little better very soon.
It really should not be held against the government that even it’s own newspaper ran an editorial about legislating against noise on October 18 in 2005. That was a year and a half ago! The editorial ended like this, “The public should speak up against the growing orchestra of dissonance that we are being subjected to, before we all become too deaf to hear anything anymore.”
Ah, so the inaction regarding this issue isn’t due to the fact Guyana’s governing officials are getting so little sleep – it is because they are now deaf and cannot hear the incessant pleas for help. The government is deaf? Hmm, I guess this isn’t a newsflash after all.