CoP wants earlier Carnival shut-off time

Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith wants con­sid­er­a­tion giv­en to rea­son­able shut-off times for fu­ture Car­ni­val cel­e­bra­tions.

Grif­fith made the sug­ges­tion at a press con­fer­ence at the Min­istry of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty in Port-of-Spain yes­ter­day.

“This is one of the few coun­tries in the world where you have Car­ni­val go­ing on from Fri­day. In oth­er car­ni­vals you have a shut-off point,” Grif­fith said.

He claimed that some sound sys­tems use the cel­e­bra­tions as an ex­cuse to play loud mu­sic for al­most the en­tire long week­end, which dis­rupts the lives of peo­ple re­sid­ing in com­mu­ni­ties along the des­ig­nat­ed pa­rade routes.

Grif­fith ad­mit­ted that he was forced to shut down mu­sic along Ari­api­ta Av­enue, Wood­brook, well be­fore the sched­uled mid­night cut-off time on Car­ni­val Tues­day due to se­cu­ri­ty con­cerns.

“From our in­tel­li­gence, there were plans for per­sons to dis­rupt Car­ni­val and use that cloak of dark­ness and the fact that tens of thou­sands of peo­ple con­verged. It did start where they ar­rived and per­sons start­ing to throw bot­tles and start­ed rob­bing in­di­vid­u­als,” Grif­fith said.

He claimed he was forced to make a judg­ment call, which un­de­ni­ably dis­ap­point­ed rev­ellers, ven­dors and spec­ta­tors en­joy­ing their last lap.

“Noth­ing is more im­por­tant than that safe­ty and se­cu­ri­ty of law-abid­ing cit­i­zens. By do­ing that we might have very well en­sured that per­sons may not have been killed or in­jured,” he said.

Be­sides se­cu­ri­ty con­cerns over late fin­ish­es, Grif­fith said it al­so af­fect­ed the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice’s (TTPS) re­sources as po­lice of­fi­cers had to be de­ployed to mon­i­tor un­planned late cel­e­bra­tions. He said he would raise the is­sue at post-mortem meet­ings and at the plan­ning stage of next year’s fes­tiv­i­ties.

Reporter: Derek Achong