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Are you Playing Domino’s too loud !!

Photo credits - Bing - Earnest Theophile

Playing Dominoes too loudly could send you to jail

Ernest Theophile, 73, and a group of elderly friends have been gathering at Maida Hill market square in north west London for the past 12 years, where they chat and play dominoes, cards, and backgammon. Last year, Ernest Theophile, a 73-year-old Black man who regularly plays dominoes with other locals in the area, was summoned to court by the council and accused of being too noisy and causing a disturbance.

Maida Hill market square

The meeting and its meeting place became a safe haven over the last two years, especially during the Covid period. Dominoes or any board game is one of sheer passion, expertise, no expertise, and most of all each game brings its excitement. So, it is for dominoes.

My personal experience of playing dominoes

Two years ago, for the first since I was a child, I played dominoes with my Uncle Jack, we won five games in a row!! I’d never played before with my uncle. However, with my uncles carefully placed dominoes, the art of placing the right dominoes takes concentration, skill and much laughter or excitement when a domino is placed.

Or in the case of you winning the game a slammer to finish the game with much laughter and the quick debate about the game as the dominoes are quickly shuffled ready for the next game. It is exactly as I have explained it! From my own personal experience.

There is so much to this story; the fact is;

· It’s a community of pensioners in the city trying to keep their community going by the sheer enjoyment of a game of dominoes.

· There is a lack of Caribbean community centres across the country, it is hard to maintain the Caribbean togetherness as we knew it to be in the 60’s especially between -I,e the role models for young men in the community.

What’s happening so far…

The Westminster Council pushed for an injunction banning social gatherings in the Maida Hill market square. Then the order was amended to; if caught ‘playing loud amplified music, drinking alcohol, shouting, and swearing’ they risk being imprisoned. The Lawyer for Ernest Theophile, 73, says the order is ‘likely to be indirectly discriminatory’.

Direct discrimination

Direct discrimination is when someone is treated unfairly because of a protected characteristic, such as sex or race. For example, someone is not offered a promotion because they're a woman and the job goes to a less qualified man. However there has been an ‘indirect discrimination’ meaning that this be described as underhanded.

Maida Hill market square is a community market. It sits just off the Chippenham Rd and Harrow Road Westminster W9 3RG. 12 years ago, there were no new buildings. There is now a community of new housing since the group started 12 years ago.

Photo credits - Bing


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