RELIEF may be in sight for residents of the Rodney Bay area who have been calling on the authorities to do something about the loud music they have been grappling with on a nightly basis over a prolonged period of time.
Parliamentary representative for the area, Kenson Casimir, said the authorities had initiated dialogue with the Attorney General’s office for broader clarification on the issue. He disclosed that the AG’s Chambers have been tasked with drafting legislation to deal with the noise pollution problem in the Rodney Bar area, and all other areas combating that type of pollution. (See the full story in the 29 November, 2023 issue of this paper).
While Casimir said all the right words to give hope to persons crying out for noise in their neighbourhoods to be abated, we feel it necessary to take a wait and see approach because all too often have we seen politicians speak in captivating ways, but never providing the push needed that would transform their words into reality.
Noise pollution, or sound pollution, could have serious consequences for persons who have to contend with it over a protracted period of time. The propagation of this pollution has ranging impacts on the activity of human or animal life, most of which are harmful to a degree.
We know that noise pollution can be found in several parts of the country and residents living in those parts have made several attempts to eradicate this by going as far as meeting with the police and government officials to see what can be done about the situation.
The main source, and in some communities, the only source of the noise at night, emanates from loud music. From Dennery to Vieux Fort to Castries and almost everywhere in between there have been occasions when residents have had to call the authorities to reduce the noise levels.
Several of the residential areas which have complained about noise pollution in the past, and still do, can be described as victims of poor urban planning.
The Rodney Bay area, which is in the heart of the town of Gros Islet, is a hub of nightly activities/entertainment which caters primarily to tourists. This area has developed by leaps and bounds over the years as the goal of the Government of Saint Lucia is to make Saint Lucia the brightest, most sparkling jewel in the Caribbean’s tourism crown.
Massive investments in tourist infrastructure along with an increase in the residential population in the Rodney Bay area and environs are mushrooming side by side, a situation which cannot be sustainable if allowed to continue without a regime of solutions aimed to improve the quality of life of residents and enhance the development of tourist attractions.
The Government of Saint Lucia has finally decided to step in to ascertain that measures are implemented that are satisfactory, we hope, to both residents and business owners. The Rodney Bay area and its environs are an urbanized part of the country therefore problems arising from urbanization such as noise pollution, traffic jams, etc. must be dealt with.
We cannot help but ask: Was there ever a master plan for the Rodney Bay area? And if such a plan exists does it take into consideration the problems of urbanization and the procedures necessary for the elimination of such problems?
It is a known fact that residents have issued a letter to prominent persons in government, including the parliamentary representative for the area, outlining the issues that confront them on a nightly basis.
It is also a fact that floating around is a 2003 report commissioned by the Government of Saint Lucia and compiled by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) dealing with planning standards for the Rodney Bay area.
In light of all of this, why then has this problem of noise pollution in the Rodney Bay area been ignored for such a long time?
It is our hope that the reassurance given by Minister Casimir to deal with the matter once and for all will be followed through in a reasonable period of time, so that not only residents of Rodney Bay, but all others who are experiencing noise pollution, will finally get a relief.