The loudspeaker culture: a menace to society

CommentaryThe loudspeaker culture, the culture of noise is an unacknowledged menace to society. Loud music blaring from speakers assaults the ears and mind of the citizens of Dominica on the streets, on the buses, and in the comfort of their home. There are no time restraints on the culture of noise. Loud music is played for the entire neighbourhood at any time of day and night.What is more there is no reasonable end time for the culture of noise.

In beautiful Mero, a once peaceful haven, the hedonistic, sewo madness has been taken to an extreme. Events or bar sessions can begin as early as 12 noon or 2 pm and go on until 12 midnight, 2 or 3 am.

At an establishment allegedly owned by a music minister can begin as early as 7 pm until 4 am. Worse still is to be woken up (if sleep came at all) by loud music at 7.30, 8 or 10 am, whilst still trying to recover from the previous day’s disturbance. An individual does not even have time to pray before they must contend with noise. Just as disturbing are the sexually explicit lyrics that debase our women and which promotes violence as a lifestyle choice.

The loudspeaker culture has grave implications for the individual and for society. The loudspeaker culture has a detrimental effect on health, on education, on social relations and on spiritual development. Noise creates psychological stress, which impacts negatively on mental health leading to depression and anxiety. It also contributes to health conditions such as heart and circulatory problems and a lowered immune system which lowers the ability of the body to fight infections.

Noise has negative effects on childhood development and on a child’s ability to learn. Continuous exposure to noise affects the body’s natural rhythms and creates sluggishness, poor concentration, depressed mood and irritability. Furthermore children internalise the language and behaviour of the loudspeaker culture, the model of what is deemed acceptable in this society, thus creating more mental destabilisation and anti-social behaviour. The implications are clear for those with foresight. In the long term society will struggle to manage the burden that the loudspeaker culture has placed on it. The health and education system, social structures and the economy will all buckle under the weight of the damaging effects of the loudspeaker culture.

The loudspeaker culture is morally and legally indefensible. It stands in opposition to the human rights of the ordinary citizen as stated by the law and a violation of the human rights of an individual as given by God. It is illegal by law to abuse the human rights of others, in this instance a person’s right to be at peace in their home. It is stated in the preamble to the constitution and affirmed by The Noise Abatement Act.

It is also immoral and against our God-given rights to be subjected to unwarranted noise in the sacred space that is our home. It is morally and legally indefensible for a lady who suffers from high blood pressure,for man who is experiencing excruciating pain after an operation or who has had a stroke, for a woman with cancer who is trying to recover her health, or for a child trying to sleep or study to endure loud music throughout the day, night and early morning;or for a woman who has experienced a range of health complications and who experiences severe migraine to listen to loud music until 3am or 4am and to be woken up by more noise at 7.30, 8 or 10 am.What kind of society accepts such things as normal? Are the moral and legal rights of people to be at peace in their home such an alien concept to Dominicans?

The loudspeaker culture is part of the general degradation that is taking place in Dominica, part of the environmental pollution and mental abuse, such as the violation of the rights of our children and female citizens that is tainting the social and physical landscape of this gift from the almighty. And yet the passivity of people to the culture of noise and these other grave matters is quite astonishing. To condone the culture of noise is also to overlook the abuse of our women and children and the environment.

The loudspeaker culture is fundamentally about the law. It is not only the ordinary citizen who is compliant with the loudspeaker culture. The Noise Abatement Act exists to protect citizens from the actions of the perpetrators of noise, and yet law enforcement officers turn a blind eye to the noise thereby giving permission to the lawbreakers to ignore the law and make noise. The violation of the law designed to protect citizens against noise makes the infringement of the law protecting women and children and the environment acceptable.

Dominicans need to ask themselves some fundamental questions about the nature of the society they desire.They need to ask themselves whether they want a society that is peaceful and productive or a society that is dysfunctional, unproductive and lawless. Dominicans will rue the day they allowed the loudspeaker culture to take root and to proliferate. There will be an increase in psychological and physical stress and disease and social destabilisation and disintegration.

As people spend more time imbibing the values and beliefs promoted by the loudspeaker culture, and less time with their families, there will be an increase incidence of alcoholism which is already an unrecognised problem, drug abuse and other criminal behaviour;an increase incidence of child abuse and abuse of our women,spiritual emptiness and educational failure and anti-social behaviour amongst the youths who emulate the values and beliefs of the loudspeaker culture. The economy will suffer as people become less productive.

I call on the Prime Minister, on the commissioner, on the ministers for health, education, the environment and tourism and our religious leaders to stop the culture of noise. And I encourage all citizens to search their conscience and defend the law. The violation of one law will inevitably lead to a society without a law.

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51 Comments

  1. Van
    April 2, 2014

    It appears that there is some kind of competition going on with various bars/cafe. Maybe they believe by playing music loudest and longest they will attract more customers.

    The people suffering as a result of this noise nuisance, are people who on the whole, return home to Dominica after residing abroad, and by doing so help the economy.

    It appears that the majority of comments support the article. These people should get together and draw up a plan to approach the Government and place them in a position where they need to take action, to prevent this noise epidemic getting beyond control.

    Giving in to it is not an answer to the problem.

  2. NRT
    April 2, 2014

    Loud misic can be used for torture neighbors. Loud misic was used to flus out expresident Noruega of Panama when the US was trying to arrest him.

    I once traveled to GrandBay to see my kids and was tortured by loud music, so I met my Possie Pal rep and told him about my ordeal and how sorry I was for the people who had to endure that, with blessings of the Gov’t. He answered, ‘boy Granbay is a wayward place wi boy, I will see what I can do but that’s how it is’. sorry people, that is sad indeed.

    • Affa
      April 3, 2014

      I feel your pain. I feel very sorry for the people who live for years next to these loud speaker idiots and rum shops. But what is worse, the police are part of it. People complain to police all the time and police do nothing. Where is your government to give their noise abatement laws some teeth?

      Neither they nor the opposition are addressing this and what they propose to do to help the people who are down on their luck due to torture from neighbors by loud speakers.

      One popular shop in the same Grand bay gives the police free drinks, so figure that one out. The shopkeeper and his wife smart, police never approach them about their torturing of their neighbors, they play loud any time of day as loud as they want. It is sickening. Another set of fellas have stadium quality loud speakers permanently by the road. That all reflects negatively on the government and police police who do not protect the people. Malad!

  3. tina
    April 1, 2014

    My worst Christmas ever- 2012 in Chance staying close to a house with music so loud that even ear plugs and a pillow over my head did not help me to fall asleep until 2 am! Terrible! And I was born in the country where “Silent Night, Holy Night” was conducted. Worst Christmas ever thanks to ignorant people/neighbours!

  4. rogerthat
    March 31, 2014

    Yesterday I went to Mero beach for a swim and to relax in the afternoon! I had to leave after less than half an hour. The music outside Connie’s bar was so very loud I could not talk to my friends as we could not hear each other over the noise. We retired further down the beach but the noise from the stage by Connie’s bar was still too loud. So my friends and I left the beach and went to the Layou river where we had a very lovely afternoon with just the sound of the river. Why do people go to the beach, to relax, swim and meet with friends! Loud music is not needed. Nobody minds music at a level where you can still talk to each other. It is so terribly selfish of people to subject others to listen to something they have no control over. We all felt very., very sorry for the people living in Mero and up on the hill above Mero as they are subjected to listen to the noise whether they like it or not. There definitely should be a law to stop this sort of behavior and to have a time to turn all the music off so people can get some sleep and quite time in their homes.

  5. JoJo
    March 31, 2014

    Next election I am voting for whoever will CRACK DOWN on this NUISANCE. Seriously!!

    • Anonymous
      April 6, 2014

      A. A. et tu brute?? Now what did you have to say about the Speaker and the noise 10 feet from her home?

  6. Softly as we Sleep
    March 30, 2014

    WONDERFUL PIECE which should be a wakeup call for law enforcement. The long and short of this nuisance continuing to happen is the non enforcement of the law by the police. If enforcement is rigid this must stop. Seem like every other person who wants to sell a piece of cake thinks he/she must have a boombox to attract people. POLICE OFFICERS YOU HAVE A DUTY OF CARE TO MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC to preserve them from the annoyance of noise pollution.

  7. Jeffrey Timothy Vale
    March 30, 2014

    On the fact that this article was written down and obviously very quite, what would be the effect if this utterance was emitted from the orifice of one’s head.

    Is it therefore now an offence to proclaimjoy, wisdom and understanding to be blasted from out of the neighbours roofs.

    • GeohHutz
      March 31, 2014

      What the hell is wrong with you? This is like a dictionary wrote this for you… Stop acting like a smart ! :-|

    • Really?
      March 31, 2014

      I read this about five times and still can’t make heads and tail of it!
      Alas, Geohutz, I agree with you but a dictionary wouldn’t write such a poorly structured and poorly punctuated sentence!
      stuupppppeees

  8. Really?
    March 30, 2014

    It’s after one in the morning and again I can’t sleep; spitting mad I stomp up to my neighbour’s door and use a stone to knock on the door. (He would not have heard if I had used my knuckles.). A bazoode young man opens the door. I complain about the loud music and ask him to play his music for himself and not for me.

    I jump from sleep with a start! it’s after 2pm and the music is blaring again! I pay my neighbour a visit and say, “you have been disturbing me for weeks with your music. I have just called the police and told them about your loud music, but I know they will not come, so I told them I just saw you pass up with couple big bags of weed, so if you really have any weed at your home I suggest you get rid of it, now!”
    In truth, I had never called the police. Suffice to say I was never disturbed again.

  9. Full Watts
    March 30, 2014

    ….who wrote that nonsense? …loudspeaker culture my ‘*#”** :oops: :oops: …buy some earplugs!!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  10. Hyperbolesylabistics
    March 29, 2014

    I was amused to see the disclaimer by DNO that the opinion of this writer does not represent the views of DNO or it’s advertisers etc. You think we will be able to stop that noise when all the advertisement is about making alot of noise?
    DNO get some fortitude and take a stand say “DNO endorses the opinion of this writer in the interest of the Public at large”

  11. Hot spice
    March 29, 2014

    An excellent piece of writing with sound advice to ALL. I do hope it reaches the people who continue to disrespect the law of the land and make life in Dominica a living HELL for those of us who are seeking a little peaceful retirement.

  12. Calypso
    March 29, 2014

    A march against the loudspeaker culture must be organized and also DNO must take a poll for or against the loudspeaker culture”

  13. Justice
    March 29, 2014

    So good to know that we are not the only persons in Dominica who are affected by the loud music ! Since this particular bar opened last Summer in Shawford, our lives and especially our sleep have changed for the worst. This bar is operating without any licenses and is playing music from 5.00pm until 1.00 am – 3.00am and sometimes even up to 8.00 am ! Many residents of the area called the police numerous time, but nothing changed. As soon as the police left the bar,…..back was the loud noise ! Yes, please something has to be done. We all have to respect our neighbors and live in peace and harmony.

    • GeohHutz
      March 31, 2014

      So true.. And they say Dominica is a nice and quite Island..

  14. J.F....
    March 29, 2014

    Great piece. It is not just bars and churches though. we have a young man who pulls up outside our house in his car. The bass is so loud our whole house shakes. The windows rattle in their frames. Goodness knows what he his doing to his hearing. Be totally deaf by the time he is 40.

    • me
      March 31, 2014

      We’ve got one of those too… and two dogs tied up 24/7 that don’t stop barking as they live such miserable lives as innocent lifelong prisoners without any exercise. Things do need to change. People need to stand up to their responsibilities. Don’t get a dog unless you can learn to control it and you take care of it properly (another topic for another day I hope). I don’t hear anybody here ever control their dog. They just let it bark until it’s finished. What about the neighbours!

  15. Kimi B
    March 29, 2014

    I remember coming home one summer, and every morning around 6 am music from two neighbors would rock the entire village. My house was right in the middle. I was soooo vex man! Here I am on vacation trying to sleep in, but my sleep gets rudely interrupted. Worse again at night. Back in the US I would just call the cops to report them, and that would be the end of it. Can you imagine being on vacation, and not getting any sleep?

    • wowzers
      March 31, 2014

      The one thing I don’t miss about DA life! As peaceful and kind a people we are supposed to be, the lack of consideration for one’s neighbor in something so basic says a lot. Great article. The health implication of the madness is real. But good luck getting the masses to understand that.

  16. rogerthat
    March 29, 2014

    I totally agree with the above article. Loud music listened to over a long period of time can cause deafness and is known to have caused many cases of tinnitus which is a continual buzzing in the ears. There are many places that play music far too loud and far too long. There definitely should be a time to put a stop to the noise in areas that are built up. One is not supposed to sit in one’s home and be subjected to listen to someone else’s noise!

  17. Empathetic Neighbour
    March 29, 2014

    This is simply one of the most compelling observation I have read!

    I am aware of a returnee who has become so disillusioned and frustrated by the uncontrollable level of noise that he has to endure on a daily basis that he was forced to put his beautiful home on the market as he can no longer live there.

    He has tried on numerous occasions to try to reason with the perpetrators, but alas they have verbally abused him and threatened him with physical abuse.

    This is a very serious matter and the government needs to intervene as people are being driven away from their families, homes and friends.

    Thanks for highlighting this serious issue.

  18. ...................
    March 29, 2014

    Yes, even the “Christian Churches” in our community are guilty of this offence.

  19. DA Birthright
    March 29, 2014

    I agree 100% with the commentary. I feel as if this is my writing. So many people seem to be aggressive and rude. No respect for anyone. I lived in Dominica for the first 23 and a half years of my life and it was never like this. There are some 1st class areas like Castle Comfort, Grand Savanne, some parts of Canefield and upper Goodwill. Can you imagine it is more quiet where I am in the USA than my birthplace, so called Nature Island? I woke up this morning in the USA and I can hear the birds chirping. Nothing else. On a recent trip to DA, the noise was quite disturbing to me. I asked a neighbor who is a government official if anyone says anything and he said that is how it is. The police, my friends, their hands are tied. No one wants enemies in these close-knit communities. Everyone is everyone’s cousin or in-law. Mind you we are all related and grew up together, but no one says anything. I really felt sorry for my mother, a senior citizen who would not hurt a fly. The elderly should be able to enjoy their golden and last days at their homes on earth in peace. You cannot even make a phone call from the privacy of your own home without screaming. Forget about the TV, you do not hear anything. I understand now why everyone is shouting in Dominica. Almost everyone is deaf. It’s not about blue or red, but change must come. Law enforcement/government, please enforce The Noise Abatement Act.

  20. sdcg
    March 29, 2014

    outstanding, great composition.

  21. Just sayin'
    March 29, 2014

    I say: shut it all down, except for Pappy…he amuses me.

  22. naturalist
    March 28, 2014

    My !my ! these could be my words! I thought I was the only person in Dominica who was affected by all that noise every day, almost every hour. I often have to cover my ears
    One used to know the seasons by the type music being played but now one only hears NOISE NOISE and more noise. Even right now a bar in the residential area where I live has the sound of loud music and the slamming of dominoes

  23. Bouyon
    March 28, 2014

    It’s all about discretion and understanding, people should avoid being selfish, while others should exercise tolerance.

    • JoJo
      March 31, 2014

      No sir, loud and persistent noise is a health hazard and a legal nuisance for which there need not be tolerance at all. If ever I leave Dominica it is because of noise and untidy, messy people. Nature island is not bouyon island. I making my own gentle and peaceful soup.

      • Anonymous
        April 6, 2014

        @jojo so was she wrong to seek her rights peacefully? You would be surprised to know how many times in the course of a weekend police are called and do assist in getting loud music abated.

  24. March 28, 2014

    And so, we need to take heed of the Life principle which says: “Go placidly amidst the noise and the haste and remember what peace there is in silence”

    The Mind is the “Battlefield” of human existence. The battle is between “Life” and “Death”. And so, through the power of the Mind that is in Good shape we can have the victory of Life–which is of Spirit and Truth; our victory would be over death–which is simply matter.

    Mind has to be over matter–this is not an empty saying– then when Life has overpowered death, nothing else is relevant.

    The problem is that too many human beings exist with a carnal mind condition–this mind works to feed back to the flesh–that is why futility is a norm of the day among us–regardless of its formation.

    For what we are searching for is fulfillment, in Life, but we are searching in all the wrong places–whether is loud music, drugs, alcohol, sex– and all the other forms of lust and passion of the world.

  25. native son
    March 28, 2014

    the American use the noise punishment on prisoners of war
    they use music ordinary sound playing at a certain level constantly can drive one mad it is proven.

    • JoJo
      March 28, 2014

      Maybe that’s why we have so many mad people and those that can not hear. Seriously man, that is torture. Noise is pollution, worse than throwing plastic all over the place and those religious people guilty too. As if God is deaf!

  26. carrotop
    March 28, 2014

    Dominica will soon be begging for a ear doctor, to combat the deafness

    • JoJo
      March 28, 2014

      We have an ear doctor, a very good one Dr. Pascal. Go and ask him how many people. specially young people have hearing damage because of that damned loud music mashing up our brains.

  27. me
    March 28, 2014

    Our local church has taken to becoming involved in the loudspeaker culture. Even though they have only 5 or so people in the audience, they will blast their service as loud as they can, in which I presume is a bid to bring more people to their church.

    It’s so invasive that it interferes with our lives at home during the week. One Friday night they played their loud speakers until after 12am so that a neighbour had to call the police to enquire what the law was. We cannot watch television and we cannot talk without being blasted either with singing or somebody yelling into the microphone, as though they like the sound of their own voice. People should be respectful of other people’s peace and quiet and their time outside of working hours! Just because it’s coming from a church, there is no excuse… even more so, they should be respectful of others.

    • me
      March 28, 2014

      The reason we cannot watch television is because we cannot hear it. We cannot hear anything apart from the church’s loud speakers.

      • JoJo
        March 28, 2014

        Sue that church, they not above the law. Anyway, that is not very christian to make your neighbours suffer in the name of, the Lord. Hypocrites!

  28. Anonymous
    March 28, 2014

    There is a time and place for everything. We all love music and are not crying it down nut too loud music I agree is a menace.
    Don’t forget music brings peace to the soul. Loud noise is the concern be it loud speakers, constant chainsaws, quarells, name them.

  29. Anonymous
    March 28, 2014

    I concur that loud noise is a menace in Dominica. There is no regard for others health or life on a whole. The noise makers covers all genre of music, from gospel to calypso, …. All businesses have loud music playing, all cars, buses have loud music playing. The music is so loud on the car that it shakes your house when the car passes and you can hear it coming from a distance.

    There is also the useless noise made by motorbikes. Not too long from now we are going to have many people with hearing problem.

    Time for the Noise Abatement Act to be enforced.

  30. MUDD
    March 28, 2014

    I wonder sometimes about Dominicans. Sometime ago Ms. Alix Boyd-Knight complain about the loud speakers in the committee and she was a PAPYSHOW out of, even a calypso song. So whats your point now.

  31. Edcuator
    March 28, 2014

    A couple things come to mind about this culture of loud music: I remember visiting Dominica several years ago and I was talking to someone about that problem and the first thing out of his mouth was that the people in foreign come down and they are trying to change the culture.

    Another thing, I remember being there on another occasion and this born again Christian thought it was his job to save the world. His house is at the top of the village. He placed his speakers on his window ledge and cranked up the volume to the max as he played his Christian music. I woke up to the loud noise at about 6:30 on a weekend morning. I was later told this is a regular weekend activity.

    It is pointless to argue with people like that because they think they are doing God’s work and the end justifies the means.

  32. Dominican in VA
    March 28, 2014

    WELL SAID Joey, in addition just wanted to add the effect off Loudspeaker culture on hearing. I wonder if a clinical study on hearing loss in our population was conducted, especially among our youths to prove the damaging effect that loud music,/sounds has on hearing. We should stop and think off how many times yo you speak to people in normal tones and they respond ” what did you say?’. this is an early sign. Ever thought why our children complains that they cannot hear what the teacher says. Be not be ALARMED when the need for sign langauge instructors INCREASE. LET US BE MINDFUL OF OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS.STOP THIS BLATANT DISREGARD FOR THE NOISE ABATEMENT ACT.APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES TAKE NOTE.

  33. March 28, 2014

    I is time for the Gov’t to make a law against that loud speaker culture…I personally witness a so called christian woman playing her music so loud that the objects in her home was vibrating it is not only those that are playing rude songs….when she was asked to lower the volume by her mother in law ,she insulted the lady by saying bitch is not your business..then the lady told her you are not coming on my land to insult me ,the ladies son answered to his own mother ,”just touch her for you to see” this is the culture of no respect to who ever it is in our Dominica where many years ago people respected each other…and more again their parents.
    I have lost interest in going home for this particular reason ,loud speaker..Why can’t they play the music for them and not for the entire village ?
    Gov’t needs to put laws to protect people specially the weak and the elderly…this cannot be acceptable,there is a time to start playing a music ,time to stop and the level of decibel should be respected….

    • Reader
      March 28, 2014

      Just to touch on the gospel music piece of your post … most of them acting like because its gospel music is it okay to play it loud. No, it is NOT!! Tonair

    • March 28, 2014

      There is such a law, the Noise Abatement Act. But try to get in enforced.

      • JoJo
        March 28, 2014

        Only Madame Speaker can get that enforced!

  34. grell
    March 28, 2014

    Great piece opend my mind.

  35. March 28, 2014

    I thoroughly agree that the loudspeaker culture has become the norm in Dominica, not only on festive occasions or on week ends but increasingly throughout the week. Noise has become pervasive and deafening in many in most of our once peaceful communities. Noise is as debilitating to a society as drugs or thievery and yet many of us turn a blind eye or ear to it. Many of us are opposed to it but we keep our silence either because of fear and retaliation from the perpetrators or from the wrath of the sewo crowd who would easily shout you down or malign you in public because of your opposition to it. To wit, some police officers, guided by the culture of lawlessness seemingly endemic in our country accept little favours such as a barbecue chicken or a few beers to turn a blind eye when complaints are made. There are some police officers that are as concerned about noise pollution as we are and to their credit have used their offices to stop the blatant affront to our society. If there is a problem with certain clauses of the “Noise Abatement Act’, well fix it and use the full arm of the law to stop this menace once and for all.

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