Saturday, February 24, 2018

Cabinet denies responsibility for picking route

Even if you have a truck on the road, what route it will take is not Cabinet’s responsibility to determine.

“It is not the role of Cabinet to make those kinds of decisions,” Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Dr Lincoln Douglas told the Express yesterday.

In a brief telephone interview, Douglas said the route followed by revellers on Carnival Monday and Tuesday is “clearly” in the hands of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) and the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA), with the police having the final say.

“I am waiting on them to declare their final decision, by (today) at the latest,” Douglas said.

NCBA president David Lopez, however, said via telephone he was under the impression Cabinet would be making a decision on the matter.

On CNC3’s morning show yesterday, National Security Minister Gary Griffith had said Cabinet would discuss the matter of a possible alternate route later that day, and supported the suggestion by some bands that the new route should pass along the Jean Pierre Complex.

At the post-Cabinet media briefing later, Griffith said whether he supported the move or not is irrelevant.

“Regardless of whether they have the old route or the concept of an alternate we have put systems in place that either one (the ministry) will be prepared to operate in that manner. (Changing the route is really the call of (Douglas) or the NCC, it is not for me to state whether I am in support or not; what I am trying to ensure is that this will be as safe a Carnival as possible.

“What I can say is the present situation is very cumbersome where you have 60,000 masqueraders trying to get into one area; it will cause massive congestion and makes it very difficult for crowd control but if it goes that way we will operate (to suit),” he said.

On Monday, the Express reported that Griffith had been concerned by the lack of communication and coordination at the Queen’s Park Oval on Sunday, where hundreds of spectators were barred from entering the Oval because fire officers were concerned about overcrowding.

To avoid that happening for Carnival, Griffith said he met Wednesday with the relevant heads of law enforcement agencies to ensure all units were on the same playing field, and there is proper communication and co-ordination through the National Operations Centre, not just Carnival Monday and Tuesday, as well as Ash Wednesday.

“This has to do with all different major events that will take place and apart from dealing with just the event management and security, we are also putting in systems to ensure there is safety to citizens getting to venues, leaving, and dealing with traffic control,” he said.