Jan. 11, 2006 After listening for years to the loud music that comes from many Savan bars, the Strength to Strength Cultural Center is hosting a forum on the subject this Friday.
The forum begins at 5:30 p.m. at Planning and Natural Resources' State Historic Preservation Office, located at 17 Kongens Gade on Government Hill.
Afreeken Southwell, of the cultural center, said that Savan is not alone in its suffering. "It's a territorywide issue," he said.
Southwell said the loud music from the Savan bars begins around noon and continues until 4 a.m. or 5 a.m.
He said that people who must go to work and children who attend school are not getting enough rest.
He said Savan has about 20 bars that are close to residential homes.
Southwell said that when residents call the police, they do nothing.
"The police officers are in cahoots with some of these bars," he alleged.
Southwell could not supply phone numbers for any of the bars because he said that many do not have names. He said some only had a couple of bar stools along with very loud music.
He also said efforts to convince Licensing and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Andrew Rutnik to take action have fallen on deaf ears.
Neither Rutnik nor Police Department spokesman Sgt. Thomas Hannah returned calls requesting comment.
Southwell said Strength to Strength already had one meeting on the issue.
Community activist Ike Williams called it an epidemic across the territory.
"No one is enforcing anything," he said.
Williams dug out his copy of the V.I. Code to report what the law has to say on the matter.
He said that "taverns" must close Monday through Friday at 1 a.m. They can stay open till 2 a.m. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
Owners can apply for a special license to allow them to stay open until 4 a.m. but no later. However, no special licenses are to be issued if there is a dwelling within 100 feet.
Bars can stay open till 4 a.m. on July 4, Christmas Day and New Year's Day with no special license.
These laws are suspended during Carnival and Festival events.
And, says Williams, bar owners must control the volume at midnight so they don't disturb anyone.
Williams read that the fine for violating these laws stands at not more than $100 or not more than 30 days in jail or both.
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