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Noise a problem for Young Island

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09.JUN.06

Editor: I am responding to an article in the June 2nd issue of “Searchlight” entitled “Shut Down.”

The issue of “noise” is an age-old problem for many individuals and businesses in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Sporadic attempts have been made in the past to come to grips with the problem and to develop solutions that would be acceptable to all concerned – in other words, a compromise. A Noise Act was introduced, but this has been a toothless tiger. In the meantime, the situation has become progressively worse for many, particularly Young Island Resort.{{more}}

Let me be very clear from the onset that Young Island Resort has never set out to close down any nightclub. The owners and management have consistently tried to work with nightclub owners to develop a solution that is workable and acceptable to all parties. Our attempts have been made even more difficult by an ineffective Noise Act, the absence of proper zoning laws, and the growing use of amplified music at deafening noise levels. At Young Island Resort, we continue to have to deal with angry and dissatisfied guests who have been forced to spend sleepless nights because of a cacophony of sounds from nightclubs that start late and end in the early morning hours.

Young Island Resort has always prided itself on being a good corporate citizen and we are proud to be a major single contributor to the employment of Vincentians. We presently employ ninety-one (91) Vincentians. All of our employees, including the General Manager, are Vincentian. We are Vincentian owned, and contribute to the national economy in many substantial ways.

We are faced however with potential lawsuits and decreasing occupancy and repeat guest levels. We recently received a document from a Vincentian consultant which stated categorically, that unless the noise problem is dealt with effectively, Young Island Resort will continue to be faced with dwindling returns on its investment, and may eventually be forced to lay-off staff.

The newspaper article included a number of quotes from Dr. Uno. If these quotes are correct, and I have no reason to doubt their accuracy, there is clearly a lack of understanding of the tourism industry, generally and moreso of the local industry. “Eco-tourists” do not come to rest during the day. Eco-tourists are very active persons who incidentally would need to rest at night after an active day. Allowing a mixture of different types of tourists would demand the existence of a proper Noise Act that is enforced. Additionally, an “entertainment belt” should not be located in a residential area (as is Iguana) unless there is proper soundproofing. Which came first, the “entertainment belt” or the hotels and residences?

Incidentally, if as Dr. Uno contends that he had agreed to lower the music from about 1:30 a.m., was the music in fact lowered at that time, or did he renege on his agreement, hence the stopping of the music at 2:10 a.m.?

As a matter of interest, in most countries, all entertainment spots are subject to sensible noise levels and a compromise of closing times.

If the government is truly serious about putting in place measures to protect the industry, just as it does with agriculture, fisheries, the financial sector, etc. then it must work on solving this problem.

If Young Island Resort lays off staff, would the night club in question be in a position to employ the laid-off staff?

Unless the problem of noise levels is dealt with in an unemotional and objective manner, we will find ourselves in a situation where we would be trying to close the gate after the horse has left and gone to more “friendly” pastures.

Sincerely,

Vidal Browne
Co-Owner/Director – Young Island Resort

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