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J’Ouvert revellers ‘fog up the place’
If you were afraid of powder, you definitely couldn’t have participated in yesterday’s J’Ouvert celebrations in Port-of-Spain. While bands provided mud, paint, chocolate, oil, cocoa, water and bubbles, J’Ouvert masqueraders came prepared with powder, creating clouds of white every chance they got.
It was mud and powder, blue, yellow and green paint and powder, water and powder, and women clad in underwear covered with powder. Powder reigned supreme, as most masqueraders were either prepared to listen to instructions from Machel Montano and “fog up the place” or throw “water and powder” when SuperBlue’s voice erupted from speaker boxes.
Big trucks and trailers took over the city’s streets as cars tried to inch their way along among masqueraders, causing traffic and one band to remain at a standstill for about 15 minutes while disgruntled masqueraders offered complaints.
J’Ouvert began at exactly 4 am for most bands in Port-of-Spain, but with pre-J’Ouvert parties being hosted throughout the city, revellers made their way into Port-of-Spain as early as 1 am. At entry points around the city, police were stationed at road blocks and searched those who wished to enter the city.
Several police officers around the city said they had seen no incidents of crime and Deputy Police Commissioner Mervyn Richardson told reporters there were no reports of violent crime within the city limits.
“We have police on the land, Coast Guard on the seas and the helicopter hovering overhead and everything is quiet. “We caught some persons breaking the law in the city and we have apprehended them.”
Richardson said with over 11,000 police on patrol in Port-of-Spain, he expected a quiet Carnival.
“Carnival has been very quiet. I have spoken with all divisions and they have reported everything seems quiet thus far.” He told the public to not drink and drive and to have a designated driver. Richardson said the police were asking everyone to enjoy themselves as the police and other law enforcement agencies would be there to give support.
His statement reflected what was happening on the city’s streets, where drunken revellers wore broad grins as they embraced the dawn that signalled the beginning of Carnival 2013. In the midst of the merriment, groups of police stood on almost every corner on Tragarete Road.
But although J’Ouvert appeared to be free of violent crime, bands still managed to break the rules set out by Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing. In January, Lee Sing announced that J’Ouvert bands would not be allowed to go through the areas of St Clair and St James. Several bands defied Lee Sing yesterday despite threats by the mayor that they would be shut down and disbanded.
Bands also stayed clear of the J’Ouvert judging point at South Quay, opting instead to create their own routes around Ariapita Avenue, Wrightson Road and Woodbrook. Only a few bands made their way to the downtown judging point, where Lee Sing crowned the King and Queen of J’Ouvert, Rondel Pierre and Lilian Pierre.