ALTHOUGH THE NOISE Abatement Act is in force, some residents continue to have disregard for the peace and quiet of others.
A St. Catherine resident complains of having sleepless nights from loud music being played at a shop in the community where she lives. She says she has made several complaints to the police, but as soon as the police leave the owners turn up the music.
"I even wrote the owners of the shop complaining that the loud music is severely affecting me, but they have not responded to my letter. There are men playing dominoes at the shop and the music starts at 7 p.m. and ends sometimes at 2 a.m. almost daily.
"The situation is more serious at weekends because the music is not turned off until about 4 a.m. There may be people who can sleep in loud noise, but I cannot sleep when the music is blasting and so I end up with severe headaches daily. I know that the shop owner is trying to make a living, but he should use his discretion and keep the music at a low level because the health of the residents must be taken into consideration at all times.
"But while the owners of the shop keep residents awake at nights, there are other residents who play their music and radios so loud in the days that even if someone wants to get some sleep in the days, it is totally impossible to do so. My 75-year-old mother is also affected because she is losing a lot of weight because of the loud music in the community. I think the police should start seizing some of the equipment when they get complaints and prosecute the offenders and that will help to curb the loud music. Some of the residents in my community in Portmore where I live believe that the way to go is to blast their music and disturb others. Music whether religious or secular should be played for the entertainment of the individual and not for the whole community. It is my view that it is not only unlawful to be disturbing your neighbours, but it is simple bad manners."
The police have the responsibility to enforce the Noise Abatement Act which came into force in 1997. However, residents who are being disturbed by loud music or noise have the responsibility to call the police in your the or Police Control at 119 and notify them of the disturbance so that the police can go to the location and ask the person to turn down or turn off the music. Charges can be brought against those who disobey police orders.
Citizens who are being disturbed by loud music can apply to the court for an injunction, which is a restraining order to prevent persons from disturbing your peace and quiet. If the person disobeys the order, steps can be taken to have them jailed for disobeying the court order.
Section 3 of the Noise Abatement Act states that no person shall, on any private premises or in any public place at anytime of day or night (a) sing, or sound or play upon any musical or noisy instrument; or (b) operate, or permit or cause to be operated any loud speaker, microphone or any other device for the amplification of sound, in such a manner that the sound is audible beyond 100 metres from the source of such sound and is reasonably capable of causing annoyance to persons in the vicinity".