Acting Prime Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire has described it as a political statement, an open letter that said it came from Rodney Bay residents concerned over noise pollution in their community.
The open letter to the government was copied to several stakeholders, including the police.
Hilaire felt the letter should identify the individual who wrote it.
He responded to reporters on the margins of a Cabinet meeting on Monday, where they raised the open letter issue.
Hilaire’s response and the letter appear below.
OPEN LETTER TO THE SAINT LUCIA GOVERNMENT
The purpose of government is to protect a country’s people, ensure domestic tranquility and promote general welfare. Why is it that in Saint Lucia, it feels as if our government is unable to provide any of these? The bold and blatant corruption that runs rampant through the government ministries and departments, the selfishness and the obvious lack of empathy towards citizens begs the question, “why did I even vote?”
When we head to the voting polls as citizens, we hope to vote in an individual who promised to be our voice. A voice that can speak for us and help make positive changes in our community. However, what we don’t realize as citizens, is we were never promised that this voice would come with ears or a heart. Ears to listen to the residents of a community, and a heart to understand extremely imperative issues that are deeply affecting the families, businesses and peacefulness in a community.
In the beginning of June 2023, 15+ letters were distributed to relevant parties, as well as a petition signed by 300+ residents to express the pain, suffering and damage that is currently being caused by noise pollution on the island. So far, they’ve been ignored, even after having several meetings with police officials. Residents expressed that they are losing revenue from long term and short term rentals, that children can’t sleep and struggle to focus in school due to exhaustion, that elderly people could not recover from medical procedures and sleep peacefully in their home, and that individuals were beginning to suffer from heart palpitations, hearing issues, mental health issues and suicidal thoughts due to sleep deprivation.
Saint Lucia currently has a mile high pile of disgusting and shameful issues in its government. The on going St. Judes hospital fiasco, illegal and obscure real estate deals, money laundering, fraud, and the list goes on. How can we ever trust that any of these issues will be addressed, if something as simple as the noise pollution that is severely affecting its citizens on a daily/nightly basis can’t be addressed? The Saint Lucian government has made it apparent, that they don’t care. The only concern our government has is, “what’s in it for me?”
Mr. Philip J Pierre, sleep is a basic human right, and a basic human need. How can Mr. Moses Jn Baptiste proudly call himself the minister of health when he is well aware that citizens in numerous communities all over the island can’t have a peaceful night’s sleep and are suffering from the health consequences of loud music every night? How can Mr. Shawn Edward proudly call himself the minister of education when our children can’t go to school refreshed because they’ve been exposed to loud, usually vulgar music all night? How can Mr. Enerst Hilaire proudly call himself the minister of tourism when citizens who own businesses that generate tourism revenue are receiving reviews from their guests that they wouldn’t return because of the noise? How can Mr. Alva Baptiste, our minister of foreign affairs, not feel embarrassed that representatives of other countries who are based in Saint Lucia can’t sleep and are forced to relocate? How can Mr. Kenson Casimir, parliamentary representative for Gros Islet, be so oblivious and callous to the residents of Rodney Bay, particularly, that he could make such an outrageous public statement saying “people moved closer to the noise”.
The false narrative of the residents of Rodney Bay choosing to live in the area “to be closer to the nightlife” is absolutely preposterous and absurd. These hardworking, tax paying individuals would much prefer to head to a local establishment where they can sit, have a drink and actually be able to have a conversation without screaming. Rodney Bay is the only place in Saint Lucia with access to private waterfront, and many of the residents have lived in the area long before the bars and clubs that currently exist, some properties in fact, being passed on through generations. It is unfair that citizens all over the island who are working regular hours are subjected to having their peace and sleep disrupted because establishments are simply playing their music too loud.
To the government of Saint Lucia, it is time to do something. The most encouraging thing is, our law enforcement officers actually want to assist us. They want to help us, they understand our frustration – but their hands are tied, and they are handicapped because the government continues to fail in addressing this issue. Please allow our law enforcement officers to do their job, and provide them with updated and clear legislation so that they can help keep peace, and serve the citizens of Saint Lucia. The balance between commercial properties and residential is possible, and that is all we desire – balance and compromise so that residents and businesses can all co-exist. We wouldn’t be the first in the world to do it. We have grown and developed so much as a country, and this third world approach to the very serious problem of noise pollution needs to stop.