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To any right thinking person, Dominica is clearly a lawless state. I cannot think of a single law that is not routinely violated. Every law, from the Noise Abatement Act, to laws dealing with child abuse, abuse of women and the environment, is wilfully trampled underfoot.

The Constitution, the basis of the laws governing the society, is discarded at the whim of mischief-makers. The transgression of the laws and Constitution of the land is an infringement of our human rights. Every individual, it appears, understands that in Dominica laws do not matter and can be ignored. Institutions, including the State, organisations and committees wilfully contravene the laws that they were created to protect and uphold, laws that form the very foundation of their interaction with the society of which they are a part and in which they conduct their affairs.

Every moral and legal decree whose explicit and implicit aim is to create a just and fair society, that regulate or control noise pollution in the environment, gender relations in society, the way children are treated and the care accorded the environment, are consciously and maliciously breached. The edicts that State that it is an offence to play loud music from any house or other establishment or from a motor vehicle to disturb others, and that planning must be involved in any endeavour where such disturbances are likely to occur are blatantly ignored. Routinely the mind is battered by loud music, and the individual so affected has no recourse to the law. Daily our women and children are abused and the physical environment polluted. The extent of the abuse and defilement of our women and children are well documented, as the numerous reports from the Child Abuse Prevention Unit and the Dominica National Council of Women and other agencies testify.

The desecration of the landscape is visible for all to see. A casual stroll along any street in Dominica, including the city of Roseau, and a quick glance at our many rivers will reveal the extent of the abuse of our physical environment. A quote I came across recently suggested that the way we treat our environment reflects the way we treat each other. Nowhere is this more evident than in Dominica.

The deliberate infraction of these laws is not all. Drugs and alcohol are freely available to children and are paraded unashamedly in fetes and other sections of society, while weapons are brandished in "jams" without intervention from the law.

The violation of these laws is a violation of the Constitution and human rights laws. By violating these laws Dominicans reveal their true character, demonstrating that their actions are not governed by belief in God, in moral and spiritual principles, nor are they guided by belief in human rights, social justice and the rule of law. In truth, God is dead in the heart and soul of those who consciously flout the laws of this green and once pleasant land.

It must be self-evident that the infringement of the laws designed to protect citizens is a contravention of their human rights to be free from all forms of abuse. There is clearly a "human rights dimension" to noise pollution and contamination of the physical landscape. According to Article 8 of the European Convention of human rights, "Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence".

" Excessive noise" clearly violates these fundamental rights. The abuse of the physical environment is also a violation of the human rights of the individual. It is our fundamental human right to be free not only from noise but from other environmental pollutants.

The lawlessness is the product of impoverished and traumatized minds and a fractured, dysfunctional and dehumanized society. What is more when the leader of any nation boldly states that neither law nor Constitution will hinder his rise to power, it is no surprise that laws are casually and intentionally breached as people pursue their own selfish aims. Salvation for the lawlessness, damaged psyche and abnormal state of Dominican society can only be found through self-transcendence and connection with the higher self.

Colton Paul The Dominica Noise Abatement Association


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