Playing loud music can be a criminal offence By Mark Ramotar
Guyana Chronicle
January 11, 2002

`'s an offence by law, a criminal offence, to play music continuously and loudly into the wee hours of the morning, especially to the annoyance of others' - Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. David Ramnarine

NOISE nuisance is a criminal offence and persons can be prosecuted under the law for making loud and continuous noise, especially if it is to the annoyance of the public, a Police spokesman has said.

Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. David Ramnarine said Wednesday that persons who have discos, restaurants and bars have to be holders of licences.

But apart from having the licences to run these outlets, they're also required to be licensed under the `Music and Dancing Licensing Act' before they can play loud music over a specified period of time, he explained.

A Bel Air Park, Georgetown resident, in a letter to the Chronicle Wednesday, complained about the extreme nuisance that noise has become in residential areas.

The resident said that for the last few months he has been awakened between 02:30-04:30 hrs almost every day by so-called frolic music emitting from the entertainment centres on Sheriff Street, several blocks northeast of where he lives.

"The sound waves come and go like big ocean waves for hours. At times the noise is faint and a few minutes later it is so loud that you could think a party is in the next door neighbourhood," the resident complained.

He said that once awake, it is difficult for him to fall to sleep again. "I suppose a certain anger that builds up is also responsible for not finding sleep again," the letter-writer said.

The resident also questioned whether those people having a "wonderful time" are working people. "I wonder what the people in the immediate neighbourhoods have to say of the entertainment centres at that time in the morning?"

"Their children must grow up either as top dancers, singers or musicians and receiving brain damage affecting their lives," he asserted.

"This artificial happiness must stop (and) it must stop at least by 01:00 hrs latest," the resident added.

For those who have to work in the morning it is only fair to get some hours of uninterrupted sleep, the angry `Bel Airian' added.

Ramnarine told the Chronicle that the conditions of the licences of these entertainment centres require that loud music can be played only up to midnight from Mondays to Fridays, while on Saturdays it can be played up to 02:00 hrs.

He said too that as far as he is concerned, "these big places (nightclubs)" should not play loud music at all on a Sunday.

"So it's an offence by law, a criminal offence, to play music continuously and loudly into the wee hours of the morning, especially to the annoyance of others..."

According to Ramnarine, Chapter 23:03 of the Laws of Guyana, under the Music and Dancing Licensing Act, requires all entertainment houses to have a Music and Dancing Licence in order to have parties and dancing sessions.

Once the music is played in such a way that it disturbs the public, the law provides for the owner to be charged with the offence of making loud and continuous noise, he said.

He said too that matters of noise nuisances should be reported to the Police and a statement will be taken before there can be any real foundation for charges to be laid.

Ramnarine said the offence carries a monetary fine in the first instance and a jail term in instances after.

He noted too that the law empowers the Police to enter premises and seize noise-making instruments wherever music is played loudly and continuously and disturbs the public.

There have been many other bitter complaints from people in the city and along the coast about the growing noise nuisance from music boxes and discos and liquor restaurants.