A CUNUPIA man says he is at his wits' end over noisy Venezuelan tenants who live next door and believes his 79-year-old mother died last month from stress, lack of sleep and discomfort in her home.
Ramanan Hardeo, 60, of Ramsaran Street, Bejucal, said he has made several complaints to the Cunupia police over the past two years and to date has not even had the courtesy of a call or visit to investigate his complaints.
Hardeo said he had made repeated complaints to the landlord to no avail.
"I am so angry with this situation. Nobody seems to listening. I am in a dilemma, I have no peace. The people come and sit in my place, garbage is thrown all over, noise in the night, sometimes early in the morning, on weekends, there is drinking and partying into the wee hours of the morning. You cannot sleep in your own home and I am retired and I expect peace in my home for God and heaven's sake. The Constitution gives me peace and every citizen peace on their property. Why am I not having that?" Hardeo asked during an interview last Thursday as he pleaded for help.
He showed five receipts from police reports dated between February 2020 and April 2022 complaining about threats, harassment, intimidation, and loud music. He said has also called the police on numerous occasions and not once gotten any response.
The properties are about 20 feet apart and are unfenced. He says the Venezuelans often walk through his yard, sit near his window and discard bottles and other garbage on his property. During a visit, several Venezuelans were seen gathered at the property, including several children.
Hardeo also supplied various videos and photos showing what he has had to endure.
He said his mother, Dhanpat Dwarka, died on April 27 and the family could not even do the religious ceremonies at their home because of the incursion on their property. Her death certificate said she died from cardio-respiratory arrest, chronic kidney disease, hypertension and cerebrovascular accident.
Hardeo said his mother often broke down in tears, complaining that she had no peace at home. Now that he is retired from his job from the drainage division in the public sector, Hardeo said all he wants is to be comfortable in his home.
Asked to respond Hardeo's complaints, the landlord Himraj Lookhur said on Saturday that Hardeo had a problem with every tenant who rented next door. Lookhur said he had acted before and evicted tenants from the property but believed that Hardeo was the one with a problem, who did not want anyone renting next door.
He said everyone in the village could attest to Hardeo's penchant for calling the police.
"If a vehicle passes and make noise, he calling the police. If you fart hard is a problem."
Lookhur said Venezuelans "does speak loud" and "every little thing for him is a problem." He said he did investigate Hardeo's complaints and went to the police and accused Hardeo of facing cameras at his property
"I get fed up, he could do what he wants," Lookhur said. Asked if he intended to fence his property to avoid further conflict, the landlord said Hardeo should do so at his expense.
"He is a fella who has no reasoning at all. If he was a fella who had an understanding that problem would have done fixed a long time, but no. So I leave it as it is. Let him complain. He writing me up on Facebook and all kinds of drama and you expect people to address his problem if that is his attitude. I done try and did't get through."
Hardeo said he resorted to public comments on social media after failing to get assistance from the police. He said he had to instal cameras for his protection and to gather evidence.
The police public information officer, ASP Sheridon Hill, empathised with Hardeo's complaints on Saturday and said he would contact the senior superintendent of the Central Division and the sergeant of the Cunupia station to look into the matter.
Hill said one of the challenges police usually face in dealing with noise complaints is that by the time officers arrive the offenders usually turn down the volume so "it is a cat and mouse game."
He said the police did not have devices to measure decibel levels and were working on acquiring them but in the meantime, the legal department was examining other ways in which officers could act.
According to Section 70 of the Summary Offences Act, the police can charge someone for a public nuisance based on complaints of excess noise and the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) Act empowers the police to intervene in cases of noise pollution. The police can obtain a warrant to enter private property, if they suspect illegal activities such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, and lewd dancing are taking place on the premises, according to Section 41 of the Summary Courts Act.
Last December, the EMA hosted a webinar where it advised people to contact the police on complaints of residential noise. Someone guilty of causing a public nuisance is liable to a fine of $1,500 or imprisonment for six months. According to the EMA, the World Health Organization has listed environmental noise as among the "top environmental risks to heal, globally."
"In TT, we are not exempt; we note that noise-related complaints are the number one type of complaint received via the EMA's complaints hotline. The EMA maintains its stance that an all-of-society approach is required to fight the scourge of noise pollution."