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Revellers hurt in J’Ouvert fracas

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A heavy presence of police officers on foot and in vehicles throughout Port-of-Spain did not prevent violence in the city, as a group of non-paying masqueraders threw bottles at J’Ouvert revellers in a band, injuring several people.

The incident took place at around 6.20 am when Cocoa Devils’ J’Ouvert band made their way along Pole Carew Street, Woodbrook.

A group of five men who were not registered to play with the band attempted to storm the band.

The band’s security staff was alerted and confronted the men, pushing them out of the roped area, eyewitnesses said.

In retaliation, the men started throwing bottles wildly toward the startled crowd, who quickly dispersed in an attempt to get away from the violence. 

While some people were hit with the bottles, others were injured from broken glass and were taken to the St James hospital for treatment.

The incident comes two years after former Port-of-Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing pleaded with the Government to ban glass bottles from the capital city during Carnival celebrations.

In 2015 a man was killed after being stabbed with a broken glass bottle during an argument with two other men over his girlfriend.

The incident happened despite thorough police searches at City Gate and in downtown Port-of-Spain.

Police set up search exercises at the Uriah Butler Highway and Lady Young Road, Morvant, leaving hundreds of motorists and would be J’Ouvert masqueraders and spectators in traffic gridlocks.

The police presence was also heavy on the city streets, with officers highly visible, both on foot and in vehicles.

While violence spoiled the festivities for some masqueraders uptown, Downtown Carnival, which also had a large contingent of police officers, was event free.

Port-of-Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee with Minister of Arts, Culture and Community Development Nyan Gadsby-Dolly at his side read the declaration to officially begin the national festival.

Competing masqueraders at the downtown judging point covered politics, elections, recession and former Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran in their J’Ouvert portrayals.

Herbert Pierre, who won last year, retained his crown as King of J’Ouvert, 2016, in Port-of-Spain with his portrayal “Captain Gary Griffith didn’t make it with the third force.”

Helen Fullard was crowned the J’Ouvert Queen with her portrayal “Queen Kamla get a real cut arse in Tobago.”