Fete promoters can pay up to $150,000 for mandatory protective services for police and fire officers to be present at each of their events.
This cost, the TT Promoters Association (TTPA) said, continues to rise and they are seeking a meeting with the relevant stakeholders to propose solutions to this issue.
At a press conference held at the President’s Box of the Queen’s Park Cricket Club, the association said while they do not disagree with the current system, which mandates that fire and police officers be present at their events to ensure public safety, they take issue in its ambiguity and conflict of interest present within it.
“We’ve asked time- and- time again in various meetings to have a formula we can apply to these allocations…No one in the TTPA believes that there should be no police and no fire officers at events…the bottom line is the industry can no longer afford these costs.
These costs have already caused several event producers to cancel events this Carnival and more of this will happen in the future if this situation is not rectified,” group activist Paige De Leon said at the news conference.
Currently, in order to get the respective permissions, the Police Service recommends a mandatory number of officers required at events to the court when applications for licenses are made.
TTPA said the court usually accepts the recommendations of the police and this they claim is a conflict of interest.
“We believe there is a conflict of interest at play with the Police and Fire Service being responsible for hiring themselves…We would like an independent panel of between three and five persons to adjudicate on the granting of licenses,” De Leon said.
The TTPA believes that the Fire Service’s regulations regarding space per person needed to be contextualised to the country’s culture.
“Fire Service regulations regarding space per person at events is not in keeping with the realities of our culture and does not reflect what we consider to be best practice,” De Leon explained.
Head of the association’s legal team Keith Scotland also explained that they would like officers present at events to work in tandem with promoters.
He said these officials should bring any issues to the promoter before taking matters into their own hands.
Reporter: Rishard Khan