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Saturday 22 September 2018
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Fete stumped by EMA police

Promoter says strict noise levels will kill Carnival

Machel Montano performs with a patron at Red Ants' Stumped fete on Saturday at the Queen's Park Oval. By the time the singer took to the stage, the fete's promoters were ordered reduce their sound levels.

One fete promoter is warning that a strict application of noise (decibel) levels can effectively kill Carnival and the culture.

Making the bold claim was organisers of the popular Red Ants’ Stumped cooler fete which was held at the Queen’s Park Oval on Saturday night.

Dean Akin, bandleader for mas band Tribe and the main organiser of the event, told Newsday the decibel levels set by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) was unreasonable.

“We are working against each other,” he said. Akin is calling for dialogue among the stakeholders, including the police, residents and the EMA.

“We understand and emphatise by those affected by noise. We are not saying allow us to have our events and be unreasonable where decibel levels are concerned but we feel that the levels now set are unrealistic,” he said.

According to Akin, a heated conversation between two people will have higher decibel levels than what is set for a sound system at an event.

He said just as the speed limit was recently increased, so too should decibel levels.

“We are not saying don’t set a level but let it be reasonable,” he said.

According to an EMA handout, the decibel level for a fete is 65 dBA.

Akin said one solution would be to grant seasonal licences.

“This does not only affect the promoter but also the corn soup man. It has a ripple effect,” he said, warning that TT Carnival can meet its demise if the authorities and party promoters continue to work against each other.

He also said the court grants a bar licence until 4 am while the EMA’s licences expired at 2 am.

“It is not reasonable. We are not working together,” he said.

“And we really want to work with the authorities and have a meaningful discussion on the issue,” he said.

At Saturday’s party, Akin and his crew were cautioned by the EMA for noise pollution.

EMA corporate communications officer, Mario Singh said although the promoter of the event received a noise pollution permit, officers of the EMA had to caution them at 2 am that they were over the time they applied for.

He said the permit’s cut off time was 2 am, and beyond that they had to be cautioned to reduce to the normal level of noise pollution levels.

“In their permit the stipulation in terms of the noise levels and the cut off times would have been clearly stated up and agreed to by the promoter. Once promoters are over their cut off time for their events they will be cautioned to reduce the level of their noise pollution. Their cut off time was 2 am and beyond that they would have had to reduce to the normal level of noise pollution levels. They were over their limit to carry on the event,” Singh said.

Singh said during the event, over a three hour period, the EMA’s policing unit had to order the promoter to adjust their decibel levels as the instrument used to measure decibel levels showed they were over permitted levels.

He said once any promoter is found to be in breach, officers are within their power to take measures to ensure they stay within the required level of the noise pollution limit.

A statement from the Red Ants’ committee apologised to patrons, vendors and performers for low audio levels during the event.

The statement said the reduction in sound levels ordered by the EMA’s police officers resulted in a severely compromised experience for their patrons.

“Rest assured that artists, DJ’s and promoters are meeting with the authorities, those affected by noise levels and other stakeholders to determine an approach moving forward as many other promoters and events have been affected in this way. The strict application of decibel levels can effectively kill Trinidad and Tobago carnival and culture,” the statement said.

The release also stated that in other countries in the region with developing Carnival industries have mandated their police, fire, environmental and other statutory bodies to work with and provide promoters and bandleaders to ensure the success of their tourist industry.

The committee also thanked singer Machel Montano for rallying on during his performance which was affected.

“We stand read to work with the authorities to make Carnival great again as ocurrences such as these only serve to retard its growth and evolution.

“We must all respect the law but the law in turn must support and respect the culture,” the statement said.

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