Woodbrook, St Clair residents: Move J’Ouvert to PoS

Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 07:00

Port-of-Spain South MP Marlene McDonald will be approaching Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to deal legislatively with noise pollution for next year’s Carnival celebrations.

McDonald raised the issue at a press conference at City Hall, Port-of-Spain, which was attended by Environmental Management Authority representative Lall Beharry, Lynette Dolly, president of the Woodbrook Residents’ Association and Port-of-Spain mayor Joel Martinez.

They spoke about problems residents of Woodbrook, St Clair and Newtown encountered by Carnival bands for J’Ouvert and the Parade of the Bands.

McDonald said the residents were left with a feeling of despair and hopelessness over the deliberate defacing of their properties, stating that this was tantamount to interfering with the rights of citizens to the enjoyment of their properties.

The residents met with McDonald twice following Carnival with the hope of resolving their plights.

Though the association is yet to tally the number of properties defaced, some residents have already submitted invoices for the damage done to their properties.

Among the recommendations McDonald, Woodbrook residents and some constituents put forward for Carnival 2019—establish a route for J’Ouvert bands, shift J’Ouvert celebrations from Woodbrook, St Clair and Newtown to the capital city, usage of paint be banned, vending on Ariapita Avenue be allowed on one side of the pavement and proper traffic management.

In moving forward, McDonald said they would work with various stakeholders to get things right as they had no intention of stopping Carnival, which needed to be regulated.

McDonald said the playing of loud music by music trucks before the start of J’Ouvert and after midnight on Carnival Tuesday was one of the most contentious issues discussed.

Under the Noise Pollution Control Rules (NPCR) of the EMA, the prescribed level is 80 decibels from 8 am to 8 pm. From 8 pm to 8 am the decibel level should be 65.

“Currently, there is no legislation in place with the volume or decibel level of music being played on the streets through Woodbrook and even in Port-of-Spain. As MP, I have given my constituents the undertaking that I will start a conversation with the Attorney General to deal legislatively with this issue,” MCDonald said.

Dolly described the J’Ouvert celebrations as a “run-away horse” as revellers used a hose to spray paint themselves in front of their homes.

“Woobrook is overloaded. We need to have something done about pushing it elsewhere. Please, give us an ease. We love Carnival. We want Carnival to continue, but all we are asking for is some structure, discipline and respect.”

Beharry said under the Public Holidays and Festival Act, music is allowed from 4 am on Carnival Monday and expires at midnight on Tuesday.

“It is our understanding that during this proclaimed time of Carnival that the NPCR is not in effect.”

Beharry said McDonald’s move to raise the issue with the AG, to have legislative amendments, was welcomed.

Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Shaliza Hassanali)