Sunday, April 28, 2013

Rains to the rescue - the Peter O'Connor commentary

Last week’s cry against the scorching of our land was heard somewhere. So who say God is not a Trini? 

The rain, which was so badly needed, began on Sunday, and continued lightly through the week. And light rain is a special blessing, when we consider all the burned mountainsides, needing a growth of green to prevent the slopes from being washed away—to clog our rivers. So those grey, misty days would have had most environmentally conscious people feeling as happy as all the birds which came out to sing in the rain. 

But there is more than just this respite from the heat and the smoke and the blackened earth which tries to grow grass to hide its nakedness, land pock-marked by old bottles, cans and other non-flammable nastiness. 

We are seeing the first hesitant steps being taken to contain the evil genies of nastiness, noise, selfishness and abuse. And while we need to put out the fires of anarchy and indifference in our land, we also must try to fan these little embers of hope wherever they are glowing.

The Mayors of our two cities have taken initiatives to shut down the ongoing harassment of neighbourhoods by noise, filth, inconsiderate parking, and peeing on peoples’ property. I commend Louis Lee Sing and Dr. Navi Muradali for their courage in defending their burgesses. 

Decent people in this country have suffered these sins against them for so long, that we have begun to accept them, like forest fires, lack of water, flooding and crime as “normal” and the way we must continue to live. 

Astonishingly, some people are vexed and complaining about their loss of their “rights” as our Mayors seek to instill some order in society for the benefit of the vast majority of citizens, too long cowed into silent suffering in order not to be deemed “against de culture”.
This minority of noisemakers (including “churches”), must understand that they do not have the right to blast noise beyond their homes or bars, that they do not have a right to block the public pavements and driveways, or to pee on anyone’s gate. 

And it really is the duty, in my view, of local government to protect law abiding citizens from these dreadful abuses. So, let us see every Regional Council follow Lee Sing and Muradali, and bring long-needed peace and order to our communities. 

And beyond the residential communities as well: Our country sides, including our remote places of pastoral beauty, are equally abused by litter, filth and-- believe it or not—noise. What could possibly be in the heads of people who would drive or hike to some beautiful beach or river, and blast mega-decibel noise out into the surrounding tranquility? And those who go to a beach or a river for peace and quiet can never hear the song of a bird, because the booming bass is literally pulsating their innards.

So when Minister of Tourism Stephen Cadiz announced at the Conference on Sustainable Tourism that the government was planning to set up a Beaches Authority, to control these abuses and make our beaches far more user friendly, I saw it as another ember of hope. 

The Authority would be there to enhance the experience of families who go to our beaches. The first task I would like to assign them is the prevention of noise. It really is simple: no bar, no snackette, no car, no group of beach limers will be allowed to play music above a stated decibel level, and this level would be that if you want to listen to your music, stay close to the source. And the Authority will also make you pick up and take your garbage home.

And the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources is also establishing a Forest and Protected Areas Management Authority, to manage and protect our
precious natural heritage, to ensure that our rivers, wetlands, and forests are not continuously abused by the noisy and the nasty. 

The PNM government in past years banned the playing of loud music in the Caroni Bird Sanctuary. Nobody died at the loss of this basic Trini Right—the right to blast appalling noise. They subsequently banned loud music in maxi taxis. Again no one perished as a result of this cruelty imposed upon maxis and their passengers. Those two bans need to be extended to all public parks, nature parks and wilderness areas, and to all vehicles on the road.

Small steps, folks, but that is the way to begin long journeys. Support the courageous mayors and new government initiatives and become involved in removing the blight of “abusive rights” which are destroying us all. Become a part of the refreshing rains which will soothe our anger and heal our scorched Earth!

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai