Dear Minister of Culture:

As I write this (10 p.m. on February 13) I’m sitting in my living room, which is next door to your ministry’s compound in St Ann’s. I’m unable to do any work, or watch television, or hear myself think. This is because a group of people have taken over the compound and they’ve been assaulting the residents of lower St Ann’s for the last seven hours with a violent, ignorant barrage of sound which they believe to be music.

I’m wondering about your involvement in this. Did they have EMA permission? Because the sound is way over whatever the allowable decibel level is. The Prime Minister’s Residence (next door) hosts functions sometimes, and the noise level is bearable. The Normandie Hotel, also nearby, hosted a concert the night before, which was bearable.

The event at the ministry compound was not. Are you responsible for this? If you are, you should resign, or be fired. And prosecuted, if there is any legal route.

With all the concern about mental health and non-material violence, you should know you, or people in your ministry acting with your authority, are assaulting hundreds of people who live in the apartments and houses around the ministry.

This includes assaulting children, the elderly, and the middle-aged who have the wildly unreasonable expectation of peace and quiet in their homes.

I’m curious if anybody is going to be held to account for this. Listening to your pronouncements and looking at some of the things your ministry has got up to, I wonder if you even understand that this is appalling, illegal, and ignorant? Or is this new innovation in home invasion “de cult-yere” your ministry propounds and propagates?

Have you ever, in between drinking your own Kool-Aid and handing out cheques to PNM campaign groups, wondered why it’s necessary for the Carnival posse to disturb and assault uninvolved people in order to “enjoy” themselves?

Apropos, a group of cultural authorities recently (January 24 and January 25) published an article in the Express titled, “The Education of Children of African Origin”. Apparently black children are not doing well in school. Apparently they’re looking for someone to blame.

I recommend you, since what’s going on in your ministry’s compound, with your authority, is a large part of the reason why, since it appears to be your version of “national culture”.

Madam, you should resign. Beg the country’s forgiveness for the last few years and the enormities you’ve helped to establish as normal. Do something to compensate the children whose mental health and education you and your ministry have permanently impaired with your “culture” of noise, ignorance and violence.

Apologies will not be enough.

Yours in PNM country.

Raymond Ramcharitar

via e-mail


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