My Theory for Surge in Loud Music

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By Neela Ramsundar

HAVE you noticed a recent dramatic increase in the playing of loud music where you work or live?

It could be the bar across the road blasting music for patrons every night. Or the Soca fete a kilometre away, yet you can still hear the boom of the base up to 2:00 a.m. Or maybe it’s your neighbour choosing to enjoy life with the assistance of massive speaker boxes, at the expense of the rest of the surrounding community.

I have a theory for the reason behind for this recent surge. In June of 2021, a fete promoter, Wild Goose Limited, won a lawsuit in the High Court of Justice against this country’s Environmental Management Authority (EMA). The dispute was over the decision of officers from the EMA’s Environmental Protection Unit to shut down the promoter’s Tailgate Carnival event at the Queen’s Park Savannah on February 26, 2019, two hours before the scheduled 2 am shut off time. The officers recorded noise levels higher than the permitted levels per a noise variation permit granted by the EMA.

High Court Judge Margaret Mohammed ruled that shutting down the event was in excess of the EMA’s jurisdiction. In essence, it was held that there was no law which permitted the EPU officers to shut down a fete as a form of immediate action and relief for breach of the noise variation permit. The learned judge ruled that the lawful avenues available to the EMA were to, for example, issue the promoter a written warning and obtaining an injunction (a court order to stop an action). Needless to say, neither of these options would offer citizens suffering from the noise pollution caused by a fete any immediate relief.

The EMA appealed the ruling, asking the Court of Appeal to overturn this decision. In November 2022, after hearing from both sides, the Court of Appeal reserved its decision. As of this date, they have not yet delivered their ruling.

While the Court of Appeal’s ruling remains pending, the EMA has to abide by the judgment of Justice Margaret Mohammed. They currently have no power to shut down fetes. They can issue notices of violation and try to penalise promoters after the fetes, but their hands are tied when it comes to offering any immediate relief.

With this year on track to being the most deadly and murderous year in our country’s history, the authority (after the EMA) we look to for relief is the Police Service. But they seem to have no time, vehicles or concern for complaints of noise.

It did not take the elements bent on proliferating the noise pollution to figure out it’s currently a free- for-all – they can play music as loud as they want, with little to no consequence. Meanwhile, the noise is affecting our ability to rest, sleep and live peaceful lives.

A more alert Attorney General cognisant of the grave social ills of noise pollution in this country would have stepped in right away to amend the Environmental Management Act Chap. 35:05 and its relevant subsidiary legislation to make it abundantly clear the EMA/EPU had immediate powers to abate noise pollution, such as shutting down fetes, carting away speaker boxes etc. Leaving this matter subject to interpretation by the Court of Appeal, then possibly months or years later by the Privy Council is unacceptable.

However, I have heard nothing from the Office of the Attorney General on this matter. Resolving the mystery of missing and re-appearing files seems to have taken precedence. I humbly ask anyone reading this, who are themselves guilty of playing loud music, please be considerate. Continuous exposure can cause headaches, stress, anxiety, high blood pressure and many other health problems. More worrisome is that it can cause anger and trigger violent reactions from neighbours (something already documented as having happened in this country). Please turn it down.

Be safe T&T!

Copyright © 2023 Neela Ramsundar, LL.B (HONS), L E C is a Civil Litigation Attorney at Law and Certified Mediator.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for general informative purposes only and/or contain the opinions and/or thoughts of the writer only. It does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. For legal advice on your specific situation, please contact an attorney of your choosing directly. Liability for any loss or damage of any


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