The police are breaking the noise nuisance law

 Dear Editor,

The location of my residence is adjacent to the St Joseph Mercy Hospital and is virtually a part of their compound. Together we face the Police Headquarters on the northern side of Young Street and the Police Sports Club ground on the eastern side of Parade Street. I have been living there for about thirty years and over the last twenty years, we have had our tranquility disturbed at times by day and night by various types of entertainment in which loudspeakers were used. The hospital authorities and my family have jointly approached the police to make life more tolerable for us by keeping the volume of the loudspeakers at a low level, more particularly at night when sleep and quietude are necessary to continued good health and recovery from ailment. We were not readily understood, but more recently the situation became so disgraceful that we sought the intervention of an attorney-at-law to intercede with the Commissioner of Police on our behalf. We were granted respite for only a few weeks when we had to endure an onslaught on our sanity when the police held their sports meeting on August 5. It lasted all day and went well into the night when a shower of rain mercifully put an end to the revelry shortly before midnight.

The loudspeakers had announced the presence of the Commissioner and we had hoped that he would have assisted in reducing the volume of music and the other meaningless sounds which were projected. The Chief Executive Officer of the hospital explained that her telephone calls to the Police Public Relations office nearby were virtually ignored. 1 invited Force Control to assist us but there appeared to be no effect. The noise was so deafening that all the glass windows in my residence rattled like a diaphragm. It was the worst case of ‘trial’ by percussion in all my years of residence in the area. The hospital authorities will, no doubt, speak for themselves but I considered it irresponsible, in poor taste and injurious to health.
I am an outpatient of the St Joseph Mercy Hospital and go there frequently and have often seen the police taking in accident victims to the Emergency Room. They know the kind of patient liable to be affected by this kind of disturbance. They also know of the existence of a hospice there and yet they are disposed to ignore a plea for restraint, even in the presence of their Commissioner.

This was the use of power in the most imperious and unsociable manner. The laws of society seemed to have lost their force and were not supplied by the laws of humanity when we could not enjoy the mild virtues of social life in our homes. If reason continues to fail, a solution should be found in the law, possibly by declaring Parade Street a Silent Zone. In this connection I recall the parting quotation of the late Lord Denning, Master of the Rolls, in his farewell lecture at the University of Guyana campus chaired by the then Chancellor of the Judiciary: “Be you ever so high, the Law is above you.”

Yours faithfully,
Philip Allsopp

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