GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The Guyana government says it will clamp down on loud music on mini buses after a newspaper reported that drivers were not prepared to adhere to the laws “without a fight”.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said that it had taken note of the newspaper article and that “It is especially disconcerting to read that loud, vulgar music is especially played on minibuses for the enjoyment of ‘school girls’ to the distress of other paying passengers”.
It said that while some commentators are urging that Parliament should consider the revision of minibus laws to bequeath law enforcement officers with authority to remove all boom boxes permanently from buses, the National Assembly had in 2008 passed the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) (Amendment) Act treating with prohibition of the playing of music in a motorbus or hire car.
It reminded that the law states "a driver of a motor bus (mini bus) or hire car shall not play or allow anyone to play any music in the motor bus (mini bus) or hire car whilst the motor bus (mini bus) or hire car is plying its route or parked in a public place".
It warned such drivers that they face the risk of being fined up to GUY$20,000 (One Guyana dollar = US$0.04 cents) and to imprisonment for 12 months.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said that the law is not limited to the playing of “loud, continuous and repetitive music which disturbs occupants of a minibus or impairs the driver’s ability to use the road cautiously, (but) rather ...clearly criminalises the playing of any music in a motor bus while plying its route or parked in a public place.
“Therefore, there should not be present in any minibus any electronic equipment (including televisions, radios, tape-decks, compact disc (CD) players, digital video disc (DVD) players, amplifiers, equalisers, speakers) which would facilitate the playing of music.”
It warned that minibus drivers “who continue to defy the laws of Guyana and loudly proclaim that the banning of minibus music “will not go down without a fight” even to the point of organising street protests should take notice” of the law and its consequences.