“The law is not there to support a noisy culture; in fact, culture isn’t just out there, it’s man-made, in constant flux. The law is designed to help to shape the culture in ways that ensure harmony between legality and morality. And when that relationship is perverted what you have is corruption.
“So law cannot support culture blindly; it’s the culture which must abide by the law…except, of course, what we really want is corruption. And, of course, the noisy, oversexed, drunken bacchanal culture that we call Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is clearly something corrupt so…”
The following Letter to the Editor, which treats a fete promoter’s response to the EMA’s adoption of a zero tolerance policy on noise pollution, was submitted to Wired868 by Akilah Holder.
Friends, Trinis, countrymen, I’m seeing red… and it has nothing to do with gender!
I just got through reading a piece about fete organisers and their displeasure with the EMA’s announced intention to strictly enforce noise levels between now and Carnival. Right now there are so many thoughts running around in my head like red ants that I don’t really know where to begin.
Red Ants. I am deeply aggravated at the stupidity of Red Ants. Yes, stupidity. No apologies. High-class stupidity. And their audacity! These Red Ants (what the hell are they trying to tell it with that name anyhow?) have the idosity (Aiz a Trini!) to issue a media statement expressing disapproval of the EMA’s proposal to strictly enforce the rules pertaining to decibel levels.
“Red Ants sincerely apologises to all our patrons, sponsors, vendors and performers for the very low audio levels during the latter part of our event STUMPED on Saturday 13th January. This situation was beyond the control of both us and the sound company…”
So far so good. But instead of stopping while they are ahead, they pick up a full head of steam and continue thus:
“… artistes, DJs and promoters are meeting with the authorities, those affected by noise levels and other stakeholders to determine an approach moving forward as many other promoters and events have been affected in this way.”
Here is why, according to the ubiquitous pests, this meeting is taking place: “The strict application of decibel levels can effectively kill Trinidad and Tobago Carnival and the culture.”
Really, Red Ants, really? You’re meeting to “determine an approach moving forward” because Trinidad and Tobago Carnival and culture are endangered by respecting and applying the law?
Here, Red Ants, is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the whole, unvarnished truth: “We must all respect the law.” Period.
Yeah. That’s it. The bit that you add about “but the law in turn must support and respect the culture…” is nothing but pure, unqualified, undisinfected, unsanitised rubbish! (In fact, I may have understated it)
Who was it who talked about two-storey ignorance, the state of not simply not knowing but also of not knowing that you don’t know? Two-storey? Red Ants’ bold decision to issue a media statement expressing disapprobation of the EMA’s declaration of war on noise says to me that they wouldn’t be able to get to their top floor offices without properly working elevators!
So let me enlighten Red Ants since they clearly do not know any better.
The human ear, according to dangerousdecibels.org, cannot handle decibel levels of 85 and over. Prolonged exposure to such loud noises—even brief exposure—will over time cause “permanent damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, leading to hearing loss.” The official designation of this type of damage is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders in the United States fully endorses the above. According to its website: “…sounds of less than 75 decibels, even after long exposure, are unlikely to cause hearing loss. However, long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for NIHL to happen.”
I am convinced that, as Marian Salandy-Brown says in a 2016 Newsday article, most Trinidadians have impaired hearing. And I recall reading an article several years ago about a young boy who, around Carnival time, had passed right next to a speaker box when it came on and lost his hearing.
I have myself experienced ringing in my ears caused by loud music in taxis or by music trucks that passed through my neighbourhood during the Carnival season. In fact, I have started wearing earplugs in maxis and taxis to protect myself.
In a 2015 column, Raffique Shah points to the implications of any disturbance of the peace for “newborn babies or the old and infirm, or just ordinary citizens who are entitled to enjoy peace and quiet to get some sleep at nights.”
“So callous are the offenders,” Shah continues, “they could not be bothered that their boorish behaviour affects students who are studying for important examinations or patients who need rest to recover from illnesses.”
So there you have it, Red Ants, there is good reason for the strict enforcement of decibel levels by the EMA. And it eh have nutten sensible allyuh could say now unless stick break in allyuh ears.
The law is not there to support a noisy culture; in fact, culture isn’t just out there, it’s man-made, in constant flux. The law is designed to help to shape the culture in ways that ensure harmony between legality and morality. And when that relationship is perverted what you have is corruption.
So law cannot support culture blindly; it’s the culture which must abide by the law…except, of course, what we really want is corruption. And, of course, the noisy, oversexed, drunken bacchanal culture that we call Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is clearly something corrupt so…
Props to the EMA for finally putting their foot down. I have no doubt that many of the decent citizens of this country applaud you and share my sense of relief—and elation!—that something is finally being done about the bloody noise levels in this damn place.
If I were you, I wouldn’t even bother to meet with Red Ants.
And props too to the TTPS for pledging to work with the EMA and upholding the law. Please don’t be cowed into changing your mind or backing down.
Maybe we should also get Rentokil involved. That way, we can perhaps get rid once and for all of the menace of Red Ants and any other pests who are intent on spoiling the national festival for the law-abiding, peace-loving, silent majority of citizens in this two-island republic.