This year’s murder toll has now surpassed last year’s figure and is expected to continue its trend after another bloody weekend.
A group of residents of Champs Elysees, Maraval, have lost their bid to stop the Prime all-inclusive fete from being held at the Country Club on Sunday evening. The group, represented through residents Marlene Guy and Margaret Fraser, was forced to drop their objection on the grounds of excessive noise and indiscriminate parking yesterday afternoon after the Court of Appeal ruled they did not have legal authority to object.
Within minutes of the Appeal Court’s ruling, attorneys representing the fete promoter, Russell DeGazon, rushed across to a meeting of the Licensing Committee for St George West at the Port-of-Spain Magistrates Court, where the licence was eventually granted. In their oral decision, judges Alice Yorke-Soo Hon and Prakash Moosai said in cases of occasional liquor licences (one-off events), under the Liquor Licences Act, only the senior police officer of the division where the event was being held could raise an objection.
“If it was the intention of the legislature to give other people the power to object, they would have stated so,” Yorke-Soo Hon said. She was careful to note that the police in this case throughly investigated the group’s complaints and ruled them out as baseless. Yorke-Soo Hon also said the Fire Service, Environmental Management Authority (EMA) and health inspectors also found no reason to object to the fete.
While the Appeal Court’s decision automatically defeated the group’s objection, Yorke-Soo Hon still advised the two opposing parties to come to a compromise. “I still hope there is still room for some sort of consensus,” Yorke-Soo Hon said. Lawyers for the promoter filed the appeal on Monday, after Senior Magistrate Annette McKenzie, chairman of the Licensing Committee, ruled that the residents had the authority to object.
Yesterday’s decision is likely to affect another fete, Sunny Side Up breakfast party, which is scheduled for Carnival Sunday (March 2) at Wendy Fitzwilliam Boulevard, Diamond Vale, Diego Martin. A resident of that community raised an objection when that fete’s promoters applied for an occasional liquor and dancehall licences in December.
Attorney Keith Scotland, who is representing both promoters, had also challenged the residents’ ability to object during a hearing of the Licensing Committee on Monday. Scotland said he would wait on the Court of Appeal’s decision before proceeding with the licence application for the breakfast party. That application is expected to be dealt with when the committee meets again next Thursday.