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Anthony Code Red Bacchus

Anthony “”Code Red”” Bacchus. (iWN photo)

The National Omnibus Association (NOBA) says that minibuses will go on strike if police move to remove sound systems from minibuses that serve the public.

The announcement by NOBA’s president Anthony “Code Red” Bacchus at a press conference in Kingstown on Monday comes amidst on-going complaints about the volume and lewdness of music played in many of the nation’s minibuses.

“People have a tendency of blaming all minivans for loud music but it doesn’t pertain to all the vans. There is word on the street that they will be taking out the radios and music out of the minivans. If they do, we are gonna shut down because it is just a 10 per cent [of minibuses] that is being disrespectful and a menace to society, and we would like that 10 per cent to be dealt with swiftly,” Bacchus said.

Contrary to the law, many minibus owners install disco type amplifications equipment in minibuses and blast music at deafening volumes.

Bacchus said that NOBA would like the government to use a decibel metre to determine which minibuses are playing music too loudly.

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“Because, like I say, it is very difficult to drive all day long with no music in that van. Like I said before, we do not tolerate lewdness, loud music and reckless driving, all those types of stuff. This (music) is all we have to keep us comfortable in the vans and passengers as well, some of them like to listen to radio programmes, like to listen to morning programmes on the radio, listen to the news. If you take out all the music and the radios, we have nothing.”

Bacchus said that a couple years ago, the police were trying to enforce the law where music cannot be played in a minivan without the permission of the Commissioner of Police.

“They were giving out tickets and one lawyer challenged it in court and the lawyer won because the present law that they have is not substantial enough to prevent a person from playing his music in his vehicle. So, at that time, I was opposing that, because I was saying I don’t see any law that said you cannot play a musical instrument. They were including a radio as a musical instrument — without the commissioner’s permission…

“So the government is coming back with another legislation to say that they’re gonna remove all radios out of the van… I am saying, if you have amplified music in your van, it should be at a certain level; not blasting,” Bacchus said.

Bacchus said that a doctor went to Little Tokyo clandestinely with a decibel metre and found that buses were playing music at 100 and 120 decibels

With extended exposure, noises that reach a decibel level of 85 can cause permanent damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, leading to hearing loss. Many common sounds may be louder than you think… A typical conversation occurs at 60 dB – not loud enough to cause damage, according to Dangerous Decibels, a website.

Bacchus said:  “There is nothing wrong with just playing a regular radio, but you have to remember these minibuses, they use their buses for private use too. I am saying if you cannot comply with the law to have your music at a certain level, … and you get caught you are subject to go to court and you lose all your music completely.”

The NOBA head maintained that only a few buses play loud and lewd music, but conceded that a ban on all amplified music will level the playing field among minibus operators.

Bacchus admitted that he, too, has amplified music in his van.

He later told reporters that he would support a move to remove all amplification equipment from minibuses.

(See below the reaction on Facebook to Bacchus’ announcement)

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4 replies on “Bus group threatens strike if police clamp down on sound systems”

  1. Bacchus is talking a load of hogwash. Taxi drivers and bus drivers ply their trade all over the world without any amplified music in their vehicle. It seems that the purpose of these drivers is not to make money but to be entertained. Bacchus who I think should know better, is allowing his actions to be influenced by a group he represents with a good eighty percent illiteracy rate. These same people who complain that insurance cost is too high, maintenance cost is too high, fuel cost is too high, fares are too low are the same people who spend thousands of dollars installing music , mag rims and graphics (which are not cheap). Go figure.
    I say ban the music, let the bunch of disunited idiots strike, and let the banks send their bailiffs when they can’t PAY!

  2. Avatar Of C. Ben-DavidC. ben-David says:

    1. All music should be banned, as in other Caribbean countries.

    2. Passenger load numbers should be strictly enforced at three adults per row, as elsewhere in the region.

    3. Vans should be more strictly monitored and fined for driving offenses.

    4. Passengers should be picked up dropped off at more clearly marked bus stops only, as in other Caribbean countries. (In my overseas home country, I have to walk a mile to the nearest bus stop. No wonder our people are so overweight).

    5. Vans should charge what they like, with prices clearly marked on the exterior to create a division between elite and budget service.

    6. Conductors should be eliminated by enforcing three in a row seating only and payment when entering, as in other Caribbean countries.

    7. Vans should be seggregated between passenger vans with one bag only held in your lap and cargo vans for passengers with several bags and other material stored in the back. These would be the only vans allowed to have a footman.

    It is high time for our transportation system to enter the 21st century. If needed changes are not made, the state should consider taking over the whole system and contracting out routes to particular private entrepreneurs with three of more vans or small trucks.

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