Police to take firm action come next Tuesday; No one will be spared, says Inspector
From next Tuesday, the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) will be clamping down on loud music, modified horns and flood lights on vehicles.
Inspector Henry Providence said on Wednesday that these three offences have been causing concern to the public, prompting national debate, so the traffic department intends to take firm action.
Providence said in relation to loud music, previously the police had prosecuted persons under Regulation 31 (prohibition of noisy instruments in a motor vehicle) of the traffic rules when it came to musical instruments in vehicles. However, a few years ago, a case involving loud music was dismissed, prompting them to seek judicial review on the interpretation of the law.
A review was obtained from the Attorney General (AG), following which a further review was sought from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The Inspector said this week, they were advised that they could proceed to charge offenders under the Noise Act which also speaks about music and noise.
“So, the Noise Act gives an interpretation and we can use that interpretation under the Noise Act to proceed to charge persons.
“The law does speak about loudness or quietness. It is clearly saying that no musical instrument should be used or operated without the written permission of the Commissioner of Police, so if you have written permission you can use it, but the police still have discretion and we will use our discretion,” said Inspector Providence.
“We want to get it to the public that the department will be coming out very strongly in regard to the both private and public vehicles all within the framework of the law,” said Providence.
He said that playing loud music is an offence that can be punished by an $80 ticket and if one refuses to pay the ticket they can be fined up to EC$1500 in court and will be fined no less than EC$125 if found guilty.
“We recognise that it is something that is debated, and everybody is talking about the noise and the effect of the noise, so we want to do something about it and are going to come very forcefully to stamp it out,” said Providence.
He added, “we are giving persons the time to get that in order so if you know you are a culprit of playing loud music and affecting people refrain because we are going to come very forcibly, and nobody would be spared.”
In relation to horns, the traffic cop said that a “serious problem” has been developing recently with the omnibuses and horns.
“We have been hearing all sorts of horns and we have situations where persons have reported that at 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. in the morning they are awaken by some of these horns by the omnibuses,” Inspector Providence explained, while noting that the law says that every horn is to be certified by the Commissioner of Police who is the licensing authority.
“It says that the Commissioner has the authority to remove these horns if they are not in keeping with the laws and over 30 vehicles have been brought in and the horns removed, and we are giving you the opportunity to remove it now.”
Inspector Providence said there are omnibuses with truck horns installed in them and when blown they sometimes cause people to panic and run as they sound like trailer truck horns and as a result scare persons.
He went on, “the regulations also speak about additional lights and most vehicles have lighted lamps that they come with. This is not the concern, there are people putting on the fluorescent lamps to the front and they did not come with the vehicles and they are using these big long bright lights that are creating problems with oncoming motorists.”
The Inspector said that some of these lights have been removed and they will be removing others any time they encounter them.