Central bandleaders seek police help for Carnival

A meet­ing among Ch­agua­nas Car­ni­val band­lead­ers and po­lice to iron out cru­cial is­sues pri­or to the fes­ti­val had to be called off as no of­fi­cers turned up on Wednes­day.

The band­lead­ers were left dis­ap­point­ed at the Ch­agua­nas Bor­ough Cor­po­ra­tion’s Ad­min­is­tra­tive Com­plex at Cum­ber­batch Street af­ter they wait­ing for an hour.

Among the is­sues the band­lead­ers want­ed to dis­cuss was the process to ob­tain spe­cial per­mits to use their ve­hi­cles on re­strict­ed routes.

Richie Richards, the band­leader of In­no­cent Fun, said when­ev­er he vis­it­ed the Ch­agua­nas Po­lice Sta­tion seek­ing in­for­ma­tion on the is­sue he was met with bu­reau­cra­cy and some­times treat­ed poor­ly by po­lice.

Band­lead­ers said po­lice were now pro­cess­ing ve­hi­cle per­mits at the South­ern Di­vi­sion which proved to be a dis­as­ter when this was im­ple­ment­ed two years ago.

Oth­er con­cerns in­clud­ed the fail­ure of po­lice to re­move of­fen­sive char­ac­ters who gath­ered at the bars af­ter they ex­it the judg­ing area.

Band­lead­ers com­plained that the bars were filled with DJs who played loud mu­sic and at­tract­ed peo­ple who crowd­ed the streets, as­sault and robbed mas­quer­aders.

Nages­sar said it was not the Ch­agua­nas Car­ni­val Com­mit­tee that grant­ed bar li­cens­es but the court. Nages­sar said he was hop­ing that there would be no road­side bars near judg­ing points.

But if bars were al­lowed to op­er­ate, he said, they should not have any DJs play­ing on the site, since this at­tract­ed crowds.

Nages­sar said he planned to resched­ule a meet­ing with the po­lice and the band­lead­ers and al­so re­quest the as­sis­tance of the Po­lice Mount­ed Branch to deal with crowd con­trol.

Band­lead­ers al­so com­plained about the Com­mit­tee’s de­ci­sion to use the road­way in­stead of erect­ing a ply­wood stage on scaf­fold­ing. Nages­sar said the cost of erect­ing a stage was over $80,000.

He said the Com­mit­tee sim­ply did not have ad­e­quate funds to con­struct a stage this year and sug­gest­ed that band­lead­ers as­sist by plead­ing with cor­po­rate spon­sors to get a stage erect­ed.

Nages­sar said based on dis­cus­sions with the po­lice ear­li­er this month, he was hope­ful that there would be over 100 po­lice of­fi­cers on du­ty in Ch­agua­nas for the two main days of cel­e­bra­tions.

Reporter: Shastri Boodan