KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, may 30, CMC -– Police say they will initiate a zero tolerance policy, including pulling the plug on Carnival activities, where there are acts of violence amid media reports that one person had been killed over the weekend.
Police spokesman, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Jonathan Nichols, told a news conference there had been “couple incidents over the weekend that were very troubling to the police”.
Media reports here said at least one person was killed following a fracas during a Carnival event.
“Now, the police force, we are very cognisant of our role (in) securing Vincy Mas, whether in the rural areas or in the capital, Kingstown,” Nichols said, adding “we also are aware that while we have to secure and protect and ensure that the events go well, we have to look out for the safety of persons who are not Carnival inclined and other members of the general public”.
He said over the weekend, the police had to stop one of the functions “because of some violence earlier in the day.
“The message is that we want people to enjoy Vincy Mas, we want you to enjoy yourself, we want you to enjoy the shows but there are some persons, they are just geared toward causing trouble.
“You have to police those persons. You have to help us police the Carnival and the activities and any show that is marred by violence, that show will be cancelled. That’s the word from the Commissioner’s Office; we are taking a stance on that. We want you to enjoy yourself but leave the violence out,” he added.
Nichols said that St. Vincent and the Grenadines had become known for having violence-free Carnivals and that other Caribbean countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, have adopted some of the strategies used here, including the “No-Bottle Policy”.
He said that the police chief in Port-of-Spain has visited the country during Carnival to observe the policing strategies employed here.
“Again, I want to encourage the public to have fun and respect the authorities. You can have fun without violence. You can have fun without getting into trouble,” he said, urging people to pay attention to friends who might be consuming too much alcohol.
“If you are in a group and you realise there is an individual or two who may be consuming a little too much alcohol and becoming too aggressive, you have to learn to speak to that individual and assist them in staying in control. When that happens, we know that we will have no incidence and a peaceful Carnival.”
Meanwhile, Culture Minister Cecil “Ces” McKie, speaking at the news conference, said “we have to ensure that we don’t have the belief that it’s just the police that is responsible for having a safe Vincy Mas.
“The responsibility lies with every single individual to do their part to ensure that our Carnival remains as the safest Carnival in the Caribbean.
“So, let us be reminded of that responsibility and ensure that we enforce the No-Bottle Policy, that we work along with the police to safeguard all of our citizens and the visitors to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”