Commissioner warns Carnival band owners, "Don't give alcohol to minors"

Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith says of­fi­cers will be crack­ing down on bar own­ers, fete pro­mot­ers and Car­ni­val band­lead­ers who al­low mi­nors to con­sume al­co­hol on the premis­es or dur­ing their events.

He said the crack­down has al­ready start­ed at var­i­ous points across T&T.

“I have made a pub­lic state­ment ad­vis­ing that of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing those in plain clothes, would be mon­i­tor­ing es­tab­lish­ments that do not com­ply with the reg­u­la­tions,” Grif­fith told Guardian Me­dia Wednes­day.

“I have al­so ad­vised fete pro­mot­ers and Car­ni­val band lead­ers of same, as there are re­ports of mi­nors go­ing to all-in­clu­sive Car­ni­val fetes and all-in­clu­sive Car­ni­val bands where al­co­hol is giv­en to all pa­trons and mas­quer­aders with no re­stric­tions.”

Grif­fith said bar­tenders and es­tab­lish­ments will feel the full brunt of the law should they de­cide to sell liquor to a mi­nor. He said at­tend­ing an all-in­clu­sive fete does not give bar­tenders and pro­mot­ers the free­dom to give al­co­hol to mi­nor and po­lice will be check­ing these fetes for breach­es in the law.

Grif­fith is al­so ad­vis­ing band lead­ers to is­sue a dif­fer­ent colour wrist­band to per­sons un­der the age of 18 so they can be eas­i­ly iden­ti­fied. He said an ear­ly in­tro­duc­tion to al­co­hol can cre­ate prob­lems down the road, as more youths may seek to ex­per­i­ment with hard­er drugs and turn to a life of delin­quen­cy. He said this was part of a greater crime pre­ven­tion plan seek­ing to en­sure fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of crim­i­nals do not plague so­ci­ety.

“If laws are not en­forced then the prod­uct of op­por­tu­ni­ty be­comes more read­i­ly avail­able. This prac­tice has been on­go­ing be­cause the law was not be­ing en­forced. That has changed,” Grif­fith said.

Grif­fith’s com­ments came in the wake of calls by Ch­agua­nas May­or Gopaul Bood­han for the com­mis­sion­er to make good on his promise to crack down on bars and sim­i­lar es­tab­lish­ments that sell al­co­hol and cig­a­rettes to mi­nors in his bor­ough.

Bood­han made the call on Tues­day evening af­ter the Ch­agua­nas Bor­ough Cor­po­ra­tion (CBC) met with of­fi­cials from the Unit­ed States Em­bassy.

Bood­han said when Grif­fith re­cent­ly vis­it­ed the cor­po­ra­tion he an­nounced plans to tack­le the il­le­gal sales of liquor to mi­nors. He said he ful­ly sup­ports Grif­fith and be­lieves this move must go a step fur­ther and in­volve all mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty, es­pe­cial­ly adults, who should re­port to the po­lice any es­tab­lish­ment sell­ing al­co­hol to mi­nors.

The may­or said al­though the fes­tive sea­son is around the cor­ner adults must not en­cour­age mi­nors to con­sume liquor. He said this habit may set the foun­da­tion for nu­mer­ous prob­lems, in­clud­ing drink­ing and dri­ving, al­co­hol abuse and delin­quen­cy. He said the cor­po­ra­tion’s goal is to en­cour­age healthy lifestyles among young­sters through sports and ed­u­ca­tion.

On the vis­it by US Em­bassy of­fi­cials, Bood­han said Ch­agua­nas is part of the Strong Cities Net­work and the meet­ing dis­cussed strate­gies re­lat­ing to crime pre­ven­tion and safe­ty in the bor­ough for the up­com­ing Christ­mas shop­ping sea­son.

- by Shastri Boodan

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