First, I wish to thank you for publishing my earlier open letter to the Commissioner of Police on the incidents of noise nuisance in the neighbourhood.
You may recall that sometime back, around July of this year (2019), I had cause to write an Open Letter to the Commissioner of Police complaining about the playing of ‘loud and continuous music’ by the Bar and Restaurant at the corner of Albert and Charlotte Street that disturbs my family’s ‘peaceful enjoyment of their home.’
This follow-up letter to my earlier one is triggered by two recent events: first, the letter carried by your newspaper Friday, October 18, captioned “The Police Force should improve its response to noise nuisance” by a Craig Villager complaining about the merry-go-round he got from Grove Police Station in response to his call about the noise nuisance on Craig Road and, second, the occurrence of a noise nuisance incident at Albert and Charlotte Street.
Unlike the Craig Villager who endured a tortuous merry-go-round, I got an almost immediate response to my call from the Alberttown Police Station when I complained about the ‘loud and continuous music’ that I and my family and neighbours have to endure night after night and on Sunday October 20, from 2:00p.m. to 12 mid-night.
Unfortunately, however, the response was not what I had expected.
The situation: At the time, the Bar in question, was having a “Barbeque” with music blasting, Cubans reveling, drinking and loud talking was going on. The activities had started earlier at 2:00 p.m.
Within minutes of my call on Sunday 4:15 p.m. to Alberttown Police Station a Police Patrol vehicle (with, as far as I could make out, the number plate PWW 5125) arrived at 4:30 p.m. and stopped in front of the Bar.
“That was fast!”, I thought.
From my veranda, I looked on at the ensuing interactions between the Police Patrol and persons connected to the Bar.
What appeared to be the owner or one of the persons in charge approached the Police Patrol and after a short pleasant exchange, he introduced two voluptuous Latinas to the Police Patrol. Was this the ‘Coquette Ploy’? Soon after that, another person appeared and handed the Police Patrol a black plastic bag containing something, I could only surmise what it was. Was that an ‘inducement’? A neighbour whispered to me “Oh my God, … look like dey bribing de police!” I looked on, not knowing what to make of it. All I was concerned with was that the Police Patrol make the owners of the bar turn down the volume of the music so that my relatives could continue with their studies.
Moments after, another person joined the merry group chatting with the Patrol. He then made his way to the Barbeque pit and to my surprise returned to the Patrol Vehicle this time carrying what appeared to be two paper-plates full of food. Was that a ‘payoff’ for the police not to take any action? I’m only asking.
I don’t want to jump to any conclusions. But I asked myself “What the hell is going on there?” The police had been called to respond to a complaint of ‘loud and continuous music’ by the Bar and there they are, being feted and fed Barbeque Chicken! I urged my neighbour, “Let’s see if they gon turn down the music.”
Unfortunately, the Police Patrol soon drove off and the music continued playing at the same level.
I can’t help but share the same opinion with the Craig Villager: “Don’t give up, they are still some good police officers around, you just have to find them.”
I want to ask the Craig Villager: “Tell me where I can find them in Guyana? Tell me?”
After the publication of my first letter, I noted in the daily newspapers, the public pronouncements of the Minister of Public Security and the Commissioner of Police on the issue of noise nuisance and that the Ministry of Public Security was considering the possibility of a policy of ‘suspending or withdrawing the licence’ of offending Bar and Restaurant owners. I felt a sense of hope.
I also read of the efforts of the Ministry of Public Security to upgrade Police Stations in the country by providing them with state-of-the-art sophisticated computer technology such as facial-recognition hardware and software, ‘crime hot-spots mapping’ software, ‘noise guns’ for detecting ‘decibel levels’ of bars and clubs and the installing of digital Data Bases to replace the pen-and-paper based records at Police Stations. That all sounds good, but has it improved the efficiency and effectiveness of the Police Force.
As a colleague pointed out, putting in the hands of the lower ranks of the Police Force sophisticated hardware and software does not make the ranks more efficient. It simply makes the Police Force more ‘capital intensive’ with such expensive equipment. A visit to any police station would easily confirm that.
My colleague went on to remind me of the recent traffic incident involving a police vehicle smashing into another vehicle killing 5 or 6 people. Cost of the vehicle: about GY2,000,000. Cost of the 5 lives: priceless. Point made: ‘capital intensive’ Police Force.
I seem also to recall one newspaper reporting that at a certain crime investigating agency, a police rank stole the hard-drive from the computer housing very sophisticated and (US$10,000) expensive software application! My neighbour insists that putting expensive equipment in the hands of police ranks only makes the ‘payoff’ bigger.
I read also in the newspapers that the Commissioner of Police emphasized the importance of the need of complainants of ‘noise nuisance’ to submit a ‘statement’ to the police so that the police can take action in response to such complaints.
Well, I did.
Soon after his public utterances, I went into Alberttown Police Station, spoke to the Officer in Charge, Mr. Caesar, who then instructed a rank to take a statement with the specifics of the incident, “the loud and continuous playing of music” that disturbed my “peaceful enjoyment of my home”, the dates, times and frequency of incident. The Officer in Charge assured me that appropriate action would be taken.
Days and nights followed with my peaceful enjoyment of my home. Then one week later, the cat-and-mouse game between the police and rogue bar owner resumed.
I recall when I was living and working in Barbados as a consultant to a Regional Institution, I was living in an apartment complex just next door to another block of apartments where a group of Guyanese building contractors were staying. They were a hard working lot building or renovating homes for Barbadians.
But, there was one thing that was their shortcoming. On Sunday mornings, religiously, they would play their cultural music loud and continuously.
A Barbadian neighbour, disturbed by the music, called the Barbadian Police Station. Soon after, two Police Officers, turned up at the apartment. They spoke with the Guyanese contractors for about 10 minutes, then they left.
For the next two years, living in the same neighbourhood, I never heard music emanating from that apartment. The Guyanese contractors still stayed there, still went about their work conscientiously, and continued to earn a good paycheck.
My question: Why must hard-working, tax-paying, law-abiding Guyanese citizens continue to suffer because of some ‘rogue’ police ranks? Are Police Stations required to keep a ‘log’ of Police Patrol activities? What’s the use of providing ‘statements’ to the police when they do not take any action? How many ‘statements’ must a citizen submit to the police. Are Police Stations properly supervised and managed?
It’s now 11:00 p.m.! and as I word process this letter, my ears are bombarded by the loud and continuous music coming from the Bar owned and run by foreigners who, in a short time span, know how to manipulate Guyanese police. God Help us.
Not a Craig Villager
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