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Lee Sing: Ban paint from J’Ouvert
The use of paint during J’Ouvert celebrations should be banned. Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing made this call at the monthly statutory meeting of the city corporation at City Hall in Port-of-Spain on Thursday. Lee Sing said after seeing the number of walls in Woodbrook and in other parts of the city that were smeared with paint during Carnival, the Downtown Carnival Committee firmly believed paint should be banned from J’Ouvert celebrations. The statement was met with chuckles and murmurs from councillors and others present.
The mayor said there was a time when citizens played J’Ouvert without defacing property and such lawlessness should not be tolerated. “I know that Carnival is a time to free up,” he said, “but freeing up does not mean you have the opportunity and the time to destroy people’s property.” He said a police car was covered with paint during this year’s J’Ouvert celebrations and the walls of the Mucurapo cemetery were defaced.
Lee Sing said he had asked the police to investigate who defaced the walls of particular properties in Woodbrook and specifically on Mucurapo Road, and the leaders of mas bands whose members are found to have defaced properties with paint should be taken to court. “I urge you to take a drive down Mucurapo Road today and look at the cost it imposes on the corporation to repaint the Mucurapo cemetery wall,” Lee Sing said.
The banning of paint in J’Ouvert, he said, could encourage bandleaders to be more creative with their costumes. Other Carnival plans proposed included more public conveniences for masqueraders and a revision of the route of Carnival bands. Lee Sing also suggested revising the planning policy along Ariapita Avenue, Tragarete Road and Wrightson Road so that two properties at the corners of each of those major roads should be zoned for commercial use.
He explained: “If you are going towards Ariapita Avenue and you are going up Murray Street, we are proposing that the two buildings beyond the corner property should be designated commercial.” He said this was to deal with the issue of commercial properties being found in the middle of residential blocks, and asked for city engineers to do a survey on the number of commercial buildings on all side streets off Ariapita Avenue, as well as Tragarete and Wrightson Roads.
On the issue of vagrants, he said while Minister of the People and Social Development Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh suggested much was being done about street dwelling, the city corporation disagrees. “We are not seeing a decline in the number of street dwellers, nor are we getting any less reports on people being maimed and assaulted by street dwellers in Port-of-Spain,” he said, and this remains a key concern for the corporation.
Lee Sing also took the opportunity to bid farewell to Chinese Ambassador Yang Youming, through whose efforts, many officers at the city corporation were given short-term scholarships to China in various disciplines. He thanked Youming for his contribution to the education of citizens and presented him with a red tenor pan.
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