Wed | Jan 18, 2017

Churches giving me hell in Ascot, Portmore

Published:Saturday | April 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Does the Noise Abatement Act exclude churches, and why is it only enforced by the police for secular events? Before the religious zealots accuse me of blasphemy, atheism or that I am attacking their religious freedom of expression, I am protecting my right that is being infringed on.

I believe it is a fair question to ask given the fact that I live in a residential community and am surrounded by six churches within a half-mile radius all conducting service on a Sunday morning beginning at 9 o'clock.

I reside at 1 North West Ascot, Greater Portmore, where all six churches make a lot of noise until well into the afternoon. I solemnly believe these churches are all competing with each other by being excessively loud. I can hear three different sermons in my living room at the same time because they are so loud.

When you call the police to report the disturbance, you are told that it is a matter for the parish council because the churches are governed under the municipal laws.

Whatever these municipal laws are, the churches are just as culpable as promoters of secular events who breach the Noise Abatement Act. Clearly, these churches are infringing on my right to peace and quiet?

It is impossible to hear my television at acceptable levels. Even when you close the windows and doors, the noise levels are just too loud.

they serve a function

I am not advocating that churches should not operate there, as they serve a function. However, it does not give them the right to disturb the neighbourhood by placing their sound boxes on the outside like they are keeping a session.

Why is it that the churches are allowed to make as much noise as they please and are given permission to come in your community to set up tents and conduct crusades without your approval when these same churches would not dare try this in certain affluent neighbourhoods?

I am therefore, calling on my member of parliament, Mr Fitz Jackson, my councillor, Mr Everton Fisher, and, by extension, the Portmore municipality to address this matter. This matter has got out of hand and needs urgent attention.

This is one of the many issues residents have been grappling with over the last two years. Some of my neighbours have given up the fight by selling their homes and moving on. Some of us are not so fortunate to move but have to stay in the pickle and bear the discomfort. I hope that the powers that be find a solution to this problem.

CONCERNED CITIZEN