Saint Lucia
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Gros Islet MP Appeals for Patience Over Noise

Gros Islet MP Kenson Casimir
Gros Islet MP Kenson Casimir

MEMBER of Parliament (MP) for Gros Islet and Minister for Youth & Sports Kenson Casimir is appealing to residents affected by and involved in the debate over noise levels at Rodney Bay to exercise patience.

The MP, who has also been targeted for related criticism by the spokespersons for the political opposition, says he’s very much aware of the situation and the matter is indeed attracting the concern of the authorities.

“The police are monitoring the matter and much is being done towards a settlement and we need patience on all sides,” Casimir told the local press on Friday.

Noting he’s had four meetings with residents and businesses and other stakeholders in the constituency in the less than two years he’s been in office, the minister also pointed out that the community in question is one hosting many different types of businesses and also a living area.

Over the past fortnight businesses hosting guests along the Rodney Bay waterfront in the increasingly commercialized yachting area have been complaining about the effects of noise from a nearby entertainment business.

The complainants, including businesswoman Nadia Jabour, have been complaining to the press about having to refund guests for loss of sleep or disturbances during their stay, while others have complained about the effects of noise on elderly citizens and children in the area, including health effects and how they affect students’ home studies.

But while the minister and MP, the police and health authorities all say they understand the plight of the complainants, it’s not an easy matter to solve in the absence of pertinent regulations.

One prominent long-term Gros Islet resident told THE VOICE, “This is not the first time because we had a similar problem affecting people in Gros Islet town every Friday night for the past several decades.”

The senior citizen, who requested anonymity, also said, “The same thing used to happen along the lane from Hobie’s to The Lime and a government minister got himself in trouble with the police after his private restaurant and bar business continued playing after the deadline time…”

She was referring to existing laws requiring establishments to stop playing loud music at a certain time past midnight, which has been largely observed since the incident involving a then Labour administration minister.

An official at the Health Ministry, who declined identification because “it’s not my department”, nonetheless told THE VOICE: “This noise level business has been a problem for decades, ever since we tried to bring the loud music in minibuses under control.

“But we were legally challenged and forced to look for instruments to measure music by their decibels on buses, but that process took so long that the government changed, and that was it…”

Regarding the current problem, which hasn’t been publicly addressed by the government and is being latched-upon by the MP’s political opponents and hopeful challengers, a previous unsuccessful Gros Islet election candidate said:

“This is a matter for the incumbent, but he will not have it easy because, unless there is a law to stop the legitimate business playing music, or to force them to sound-proof their location, the business, if forced, can claim discrimination and take the government to court…

“And besides, if you force a disco to soundproof for Rodney Bay people, what about those in Gros Islet village and everywhere else in Saint Lucia where people can complain about the noise?”

He said, “I will not suggest the business people complaining should protect their health and clients by soundproofing their premises or taking evasive or preventive action, but they need to understand the minister’s point that this is a ‘mixed use’ area that is developing like the rest of Saint Lucia and there will always be situations like these that require understanding on both and all sides.”

Minister Casimir says he’ll continue his consultations with affected parties and called on all to allow the police to continue monitoring the situation within the law, while exercising patience.