National Assembly approves motion to combat excessive noise |01 July 2021
The National Assembly yesterday approved by 28 votes a motion brought by leader of government business Bernard Georges in which he called for the level of noise pollution and disturbance in the country to end, towards peace and harmony at community level.
Presenting his motion, Hon. Georges asked that all citizens respect others and refrain from making noise that will disturb the community; that government assures that all laws and regulations to deal with persons who continuously disturb others with noise are in place and that law enforcement authorities enforce measures to ensure that noise disturbance is reduced at community-level, and that peace reigns.
Hon. Georges, in presenting the motion, noted that the situation has worsened recently, and called on relevant authorities to spring to action and enforce existing laws that seek to protect citizens, as well as the environment, from acts of nuisance, noting that the motion seeks to educate citizens about having balance.
“Citizens are addressed first because it is us who make noise, and us who suffer from noise, so the solution lies with us. It takes a little effort on the part of everyone to help the noise problem to be controlled. Everyone will have a birthday party once in a while and music will be played quite loudly, but we can do so while respecting our neighbours, and we cannot do this every day.”
“Let us not forget that Seychelles is a touristic destination, and the tourism industry is the first and biggest pillar of our economy, as was evident with the Covid-19 pandemic. Visitors do not come to Seychelles because it is noisy, or because they want to be disturbed by the neighbours’ dog at night, or to have a disco next to them while they enjoy the beach. Visitors come to Seychelles to relax. The work of the Ministry of Tourism to encourage tourists to visit Seychelles can be erased within one second. Let us not forget that we are not the only islands or the only beautiful country in the world. Competition is rife, and if we are not careful and we get so many negative reviews and comments on platform like TripAdvisor, Booking.com and other social platforms, we will regret this,” Hon. Georges stated.
In relation to the motion’s aim to have government put in place structures enforce the law when citizens do not abide, Hon. Georges detailed the various legal provisions that seek to combat such anti-social behaviours, including the Penal code makes provisions for persons who breach the peace within public places, to face arrest and a fine or short imprisonment sentence. The code also makes provisions for public nuisance, with either a fine or prison sentence as consequence. Hon. Georges also made reference to legal provisions allowing on citizens to take another to court for disturbances and face imprisonment if determined by the courts, citing the Road Transport Regulations, the Environment Protection Act (EPA), the Amplification of Sound and Playing of music Control Regulations which came to force in 1976 and prohibits the playing of loud music between the hours of 11pm and 6am, as well as court decisions pertaining to noise pollution.
In concluding his presentation, Hon. Georges called on institutions including the judiciary to take action and enforce the law against perpetrators.
“In addition, I think we should give law enforcement more teeth. They should be able to seize a music system, and take it back to the police station. They should be able to tackle modifications to vehicles, which have no objective but to make noise,” Hon. Georges stated, proposing that fixed penalties, order for vehicles not to be used and seizures are applied strictly.
Numerous members intervened on the motion, affording their support and seizing the opportunity to point out the instances and hotspots within their own districts where noise pollution is commonplace.
Hon. Andy Labonte, Hon. Sylvanne Lemiel, and leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Sebastien Pillay, all intervened, with the latter highlighting the necessity to take all constituents into consideration to ensure that all groups and sub-groups within society can co-exist and live harmoniously.
Members also reiterated the call for citizens to act responsibly, including Hon. Sathyanarayan Naidu, Hon. Aubrey Vidot and Hon. Regina Esparon, who also recommended that public places be designated to allow for parties, and other permitted uses with loud music.
Chief Whip of the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) party Sandy Arrisol proposed that the reason noise pollution is rampant is due to the fact that citizens have no spaces at which to spend free time and enjoy themselves, on account that the government has eliminated such spaces, and tried to control and restrict entertainment activities.
“We do not want the youths who are listening to think that we are trying to prevent them from having fun, this is not what the motion is asking. Have fun but do it responsibly, knowing that you have the rights of others to respect and uphold,” Hon. Arrisol stated.
In concluding the motion, Hon. Georges highlighted other social ills, including an alarming rate of heroin abuse, high rates of alcohol abuse, going further to note that the noise problem is as grave as the other social problems.
He also expressed disappointment towards the population, which he acknowledged as educated and proud, for knowingly causing noise pollution.