Ban on scratch bombs not enough

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It is heart-wrenching to see 25 people lose their homes and all their possessions in a fire reportedly caused by fireworks (floating lanterns). I place the blame at the feet of the Government, which, after years of complaints by the citizenry over the irresponsible use of fireworks, has done absolutely nothing other than ban scratch bombs while dire threats to lives and property, not to mention the trauma to animals, children and the elderly, from other types of fireworks continue unabated.

Over the years, fireworks have claimed lives, paralysed people, and caused severe damage to property.

One wonders whether these so-called fireworks manufactures and distributors have top officials in their back pocket.

After all, this is sweet, sweet T& T.

In the area where I live, while many residents have either opted to not participate in the grim fireworks ritual or instead chose less noisy products, there are the idiots who couldn’t help but ‘explode’ the nerve-wracking ‘bombs’ and the insidious red floating lanterns filled the night sky.

As such, any of us could have fallen victim to a fire. And too, it was distressing to see animals scampering about.

Some fireworks users, to avoid jeopardising their own homes and the safety of their families, have brazenly taken to the public streets to detonate dangerous fireworks.

Where was law enforcement? What are the benefits of laws without effective enforcement and accountability?

This is but another tragic fireworks disaster and it is left to be seen whether any serious action will be taken. Just imagine, children and irresponsible adults have ‘licence’ to handle dangerous explosives. Even worse, those floating lanterns, outlawed in many countries, are sold carte blanche in T&T.

I again join the indignant chorus to outlaw the use of fireworks at least in residential areas. Some people simply don’t care a damn and are insensitive to the trauma and anxiety fireworks inflict.

It’s nothing short of barbarism when fireworks users, in spite of knowing the trauma experienced by animals, many run off and die, continue with their senseless act.

As far as I am concerned, the marketers of the floating lantern ought to be made to pay for the losses incurred by the family in the Old Years night fire and charges brought against them for peddling dangerous ‘weapons’.

My goodness, we are grappling with many issues. People are homeless and out of work.

The manufactures of useless and hazardous fireworks can find more beneficial and productive endeavours for their manufacturing/distribution resources and the country’s scarce forex.

I would hate to think there are those seeking assistance from the Government and complaining about the high cost of living who would use grants and aid to purchase fireworks.

All in all, many of us would much prefer to hear the melodious sound of church bells and other glorious sounds ringing in the New Year.

It’s high time for decisive action regarding the indiscriminate use of fireworks.

RP Joseph
San Fernando