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Uncaring Bajans

President of the Society for a Quieter Barbados, Carl Moore.

by Kimberley Cummins

The Barbadian society has changed over the past 40 years and not all things have developed for the better, says President of the Society for a Quieter Barbados, Carl Moore.

He was this morning speaking with Barbados TODAY at his Rock Dundo, St. Michael residence in relation to the progress the society made since its establishment 10 years ago.

When the organisation was established their aim was: To foster recognition of the right to quiet as a basic human right; to promote awareness of the ever-increasing problem of noise pollution in Barbados and the dangers of noise pollution to the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being; and, to work for reduction of noise through better regulation and enforcement of existing laws.

The organisation also wanted to encourage responsible behaviour by Government agencies, corporate entities and individuals, and to advocate and lobby for the expansion of relevant legislation.

Moore said that the SQB had only made strides in terms of increasing people’s awareness when their peace and quiet was being impinged but said they did not have much more to show. He added that some of the hindrance was that the once caring Barbados he knew was now no more.

“I am 72 years old and I knew of a more caring Barbados. Sad to say but in the last 40 years the place has changed. We need to learn to live in harmony. I am not saying you shouldn’t have a party, you shouldn’t have Kadooment, you shouldn’t have karaoke, but be reasonable, you do not need to push up the volume to the level where it is bursting the ear drums of the persons in the districts. The people in the district if they wanted to go to the fete they would have.”

While he and Minister of Education, Ronald Jones might not agree on all matters, Moore said there were some comments Jones made about music that struck the nail on the head.

“Mr. Jones and I often disagree on matters like demons and so on but he was right. Some commentators, I had to speak to one on VOB – I told him that he was being unfair to suggest that Mr. Jones was making a distinction between classical music and calypso, but he didn’t mean that. I agree with him 100 per cent but people don’t want to hear that and it boils down to no respect for your neighbour. I think it is a flaw in our ability to understand certain concepts. It comes down to being considerate about your neighbour.

“We are occupying a tiny piece of real estate called Barbados- only 166 square miles so we have to develop a society that cares about one another.

Our main emphasis has not been on legislation, our main emphasis is on persuading the people. We thought that we knew the Barbadian people that was caring and empathetic to the other person’s situation and we zeroed in on,” he said.

Some of the main noise makers, he maintained, were motor cycles with altered mufflers; stereos in cars, homes and on public transportation.

Another annoyance was kites staked out all night especially those with bulls made from plastic or cement bags which he noted sounded like helicopters during the night.

While he emphasised that there was need for legislation to ensure that the “handful” of people who could not behave themselves were kept in line, Moore said that Barbadians must start caring about their neighbours again.

“My neighbour next door could appreciate that if his goat comes over here and he stole my plants that I have something to be annoyed about but he cannot appreciate that if his music comes over here and annoys me while I am trying to do some work that, that is equivalent to the goat coming and eating my plant.

“Don’t tell me that Barbadians are so daft that unless you can touch something they can’t understand it – not the Barbados that I know. What I am saying is that it is a disrespect and indifference. This is my stereo so I don’t care about you; I can play it as loud as I want to because it is mine. That should not be, especially in a small community where people are so close to one another.”

Though he acknowledged that over the years membership had fallen off dramatically, now with a “handful” of members- those who remain were still fighting and pushing for Barbados to be on par with other Caribbean islands like, Jamaica and Trinidad, who have implement noise pollution acts, as well as for Barbadians to fight for what they want.

“The average Barbadian wants the noise to ease,” he said, “but they don’t want to assist you. Every week I get calls from people, ‘What can you do about this noise?’ I say give us the support and join the association, they can’t be bothered. Even some of the members who were with us when we launched have left. It is not a vibrant organisation.

“It is a weakness in our society where people don’t want to put their hands on the plough; they want you to do it for them. Take consumerism for instance, everybody complains how expensive things are and nobody understands the power of togetherness. That is a part of our psyche where we would prefer not to rock the boat and hope that it will go away. Some things just don’t go away, they get worst and the noise pollution is a case in point,” Moore said.

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