The Ministry of Public Security’s Task Force on noise nuisance has recommended that bars and clubs be soundproof before they are granted a license to operate by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).
At the opening of a two-day training Thursday for Police Officers to effectively respond to noise nuisance complaints, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan said, “the task force recommended that bars and liquor restaurants must soundproof before they are issued licenses from the GRA…of course that will take some time because we know the peculiar nature of our conditions here.”
“Make it a condition that before you continue to do your bar services that you must adhere to certain noise levels and the minute you breach it we can take that [license] away,” the Minister said to Police Officers and other officials at the Police Training Centre on Camp Street.
According to the Minister, the task force faces huge challenges when complainants are reluctant to give Police statements against perpetrators in court.
“A number of perpetrators have been charged and the affected persons across the country who have been contacted by the Noise Nuisance Task Force and were repeatedly advised that they now have to go to court after you make the case…you see how they start begging…’I don’t wanna go’ or ‘just let he turn down the music nah what me gotta go court for’…
“And then is when we lose the case and the perpetrators feels he have an impunity… he go and pump up the volume more,” the Minister said.
The Security Minister said the Police have to find an alternative to prosecuting the perpetrators.
“One such method is to take the profit out of this illegality. That means if we have to deregister them, we have to do that to take away their licenses that GRA grant.”
Minister Ramjattan is advising persons to maintain a balance.
“You just can’t stop music, you have to appreciate that people want to make a livelihood but it is to do that, balancing it with the other rights that other people have and so that you do not, in enjoying your rights, affect the rights of others,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Dr Vincent Adams said the agency recorded a 35% increase in noise nuisance complaints when compared to last year.
Dr Adams said noise pollution is one of the most persistent and pervasive issues in the country.
“For 2018 alone the agency responded to 156 complaints of noise nuisance and for the first half of 2019 the agency has received 105 such complaints which calculate to an increase of over 35% within one year and that’s not to mention those who stop complaining because they are not getting responses,” Dr. Adams said.
An interagency approach is currently being undertaken to reduce noise pollution in Guyana.
The training for the Police Officers is being done in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Security’s Task Force on noise nuisance and the EPA.
The training will allow Police Officers to be exposed to strategies used in collecting noise data by using a noise meter and also learn how to analyze the data and make recommendations to strengthen the task force.