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Cops shut down south bars early but Steelbands get last lap bligh

Thursday, March 6, 2014

As Carnival celebrations continued into Tuesday night, with revellers trying to enjoy the last  hours of celebrations on the streets, thousands left the city dejectedly as the music was brought to sudden end at 10 pm. Some pan lovers, who gathered at Coffee Street for Tuesday night’s steelband competition, also left angrily after police reportedly stopped Skiffle Steel Orchestra during their performance, although the celebrations were scheduled to end at midnight.



However, in an interview yesterday, Sr Supt Cecil Santana dispelled those claims, saying that the pan competition was allowed to continue until all bands had played. Explaining, however, why the DJs, food vendors and bars were shut down early, he said all those people operated under special events licenses which expired at 10 pm. Santana said the pan competition was not brought to an abrupt end, as all the bands were allowed to play. The bars, he said, were not functioning because their licenses had expired. 


“When 10 pm reached, we stopped all the people with special events licenses. We allowed the pan to play until the competition was finished,” he said. This was supported by deputy mayor Junia Regrello, also the leader of Skiffle Steel Orchestra. “The competition was supposed to be completed around 11 pm and because we are the host band at Coffee Street we decided to play last,” Regrello said.


“Some bands came in late so we started to play after 11 pm. The police were not aware that we were at a competition point and they thought we were just playing in the streets. “They came down and sounded their sirens and when we stopped, they informed the judges that they would allow us to play.” Both Santana and Regrello said there were no major instances of violence at Tuesday night’s celebrations, except for patrons throwing bottles into the air. 


Nineteen registered bands crossed three judging points at High Street, Coffee Street and the South National Academy for the Performing Arts before 8 pm, despite a late start to the parade of the bands competition. The customary Tuesday night street party at Sutton Street failed to come off this year as barricades were placed around the streets, blocking the music trucks and accompanying masqueraders from entering the area.


Also on Tuesday, one of the glass walls at Republic Bank’s Lower High Street branch shattered due to heavy vibration caused by a passing music truck. However, officers were quickly on the scene to prevent anyone from entering the building. San Fernando mayor Kazim Hosein said yesterday’s result for the competitions were being tabulated and might be announced at a press conference today.


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