While fireworks remain a traditional part of New Year’s Eve celebrations, its adverse effects continue to be the catalyst behind calls for it to be banned. But amid the chorus of calls for change, former chairman of the Joint Select Committee, Dr Dhanayshar Mahabir says it is not too late to regulate the use of pyrotechnics before the end of the year.
It’s usually around this time of year complaints from the setting off of fireworks sky-rockets.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions placed on gatherings, some citizens have stocked up on fireworks to ring in the New Year with their loved ones.
During the annual Boxing Day Sales, some took advantage of the deals and bought their fireworks.
Yesterday when Guardian Media visited some vendors we were told that the day’s sales were slow as citizens already made their purchases in a bid to put on a display of pyrotechnics and lights.
Segments of society continue to contend that it is difficult to turn a blind eye to the health and safety consequences of the pyrotechnics.
Former Independent Senator Dr Mahabir, who presided over a Joint Select Committee on the adverse effects of fireworks two years ago expressed disappointment over the failure by Government to heed recommendations made.
“It was important to regulate; the regulations in my mind were relatively easy to draft so I’m a little nonplussed the regulations were not drafted particularly for the time of use, days of use and events surrounding the fireworks,” said Dr Mahabir.
With New Year’s Eve days away, Dr Mahabir said it is not too late for changes to be made to the regulation and challenged National Security Minister Stuart Young to take action.
“It’s still not very late for the Minister of National Security to issue regulations with respect to the use of fireworks on old years, I am hoping the JSC or Social Services will conduct an emergency meeting between now and old years, that is quite possible.”
Dr Mahabir maintained the conversation going forward should be on how the use of pyrotechnics can be regulated throughout the course of the year.
He said, “I’m hoping the JSC will revisit the issue and get all stakeholders involved this time with the focus on what these regulations should be during the year. It should not be anyone who having a birthday party or a wedding celebration setting off these devices to the inconvenience of other people.”
Meanwhile, Managing Director of Fire One Fireworks Andre Abraham stressed while industry players enforce safeguarding measures, the Government also needed to regulate the use of the contentious material.
“If we can get people to use fireworks on specific days at specific times everybody benefits and that’s the big thing, we have been pushing the last couple years.”
Several countries around the world have amended their laws regulating the sale, possession and use of fireworks.
The penalties for breaching the regulations have also been revised.