All the soca songs say wine down low and jam on a bumper, and while masqueraders eagerly follow these instructions, Port of Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee finds their behaviour “vulgar and reprehensible”.
“That is not Carnival. That is rank, vulgar behaviour. You can enjoy yourself in a way you will not believe without going to those levels. Children are looking. I see some women do some things with some men—nothing for the imagination: you can’t do that. What about our guests who come here, our tourists? And it’s the adults doing it and blaming young people, but they do it and they promote it and sustain it and I am against that,” Tim Kee told reporters yesterday at the Downtown Carnival judging point on South Quay, Port of Spain.
Tim Kee described some of the costumes he saw as “unacceptable—almost like a beach party on the street”.
“I hate to say this—some women just don’t care,” he said.
Aside from this moral stance, Tim Kee found, for the most part, his first Carnival as mayor was “quite good”.
Apart from the South Quay spot, he also visited the judging point at Piccadilly Greens and everything there was well—nice and peaceful, he said.
Tim Kee acknowledged the slow pace in band traffic to South Quay and said while he believed the concentration of bands will likely be at the Queen’s Park Savannah, he would not be visiting there—nor the controversial Socadrome at Jean Pierre Complex in Woodbrook.
“My visit (uptown) will be to check and see what is happening, not to get involved, because I’ve got several calls from burgesses this morning about the inconvenience, with some sick and elderly people who fear if an emergency were to arise how they would get out,” he said.
The concerns of residents, and the other perennial pre-Carnival problems like routes, cannot be and should not be an annual issue, he said.
“(Planning) requires some serious and objective conversations and discussion with a view to regularising Carnival so it wouldn’t be provoking confusions and bacchanal every year. People misunderstand the bacchanal for Carnival. Bacchanal should be on the streets, not in the communities.”
Tim Kee said the PoS City Corporation’s responsibility was not to decide on the route, but mainly security.
“When it comes to routes we have no control, no say over that. All I can do is provoke discussions over the next two or three weeks after Carnival looking to put something—a complement of people—veterans and youth (to deal with it). It can’t be just a week, it has to be ongoing to get all the stakeholders involved, most importantly the public.”
He said he will be making his own notes on possible improvements as he observes the Carnival celebrations throughout the day, but will keep his ideas close to his chest because he did not want anyone piggybacking on his plans. He said he was willing to listen and contribute to the different objective analyses.
The mayor added that from the reports he was receiving from the Police Service, this Carnival appeared to be one of the safest.