Light Them Up!

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People all over the world are prepping themselves and their animals for the auditory debauchery that comes with the changing of the year. Fireworks, firecrackers and other noise making devices are a norm for this time of the year. Unfortunately, while fireworks are mostly pretty to look at, they are a nightmare for some. In addition to animals with sensitive hearing, these things are also a major disturbance for babies and the elderly.

This is especially true when it comes to noise making firecrackers and scratch bombs, which can cause actual physical harm. During Divali 2016, a 49 year old woman had her hand mangled, after someone threw a lighted scratch bomb into the car she was in. It landed next to her six month old granddaughter and she was injured after she picked it up to throw it out. This year, again during Divali, nine persons were left homeless after a fire caused by fireworks destroyed two homes in McBean, Couva.

Fireworks are not toys, and should be better regulated. We do have laws in this country, but unfortunately many are either ignorant of it or don’t care. Worse yet, there is often little enforcement by those in authority. According to the Summary Offences Act Chapter 11:02 “any person who throws, casts, sets fire to, or lets off any fireworks within any town is liable to a fine of one thousand dollars”. There are also restrictions on the use of fireworks in residential neighborhoods. Why then do we insist on doing so anyway? And why do some take such immense pleasure in startling others? There have been actual cases of heart attacks being triggered when firecrackers explode unexpectedly near to people.

People can set the simplest example by refusing to purchase noise making fireworks. There are many that are so beautiful to look at and are easy on the ears. To the big companies, you can be more responsible about who you choose to sell high grade fireworks to. Better yet, all the really loud annoying ones, don’t sell them at all. Hopefully such items will be included under the National Security Minister’s proposed ban on scratch bombs and the like. This will hopefully come into effect soon, because according to Minister Stuart Young, it does not require an amendment to any legislation. Instead, he says he as Minister can prohibit the manufacture, keeping, importation, conveyance and sale of any explosive by order. Prohibition though will not be enough. Those who insist on using these items, especially in a malicious way, should be subject to whatever penalties exist. Light them up!