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Ban use of paint during J’Ouvert

Published: 
Monday, February 19, 2018
Woodbrook residents make proposal
The wall of a Woodbrook resident in the aftermath of J’Ouvert celebrations.

Woodbrook residents have put forward four proposals to their Member of Parliament in a bid to stop masqueraders and J’Ouvert revellers from defacing their properties annually during Carnival celebrations.

Chairman of the Woodbrook Residents Committee Lynette Dolly in a recent meeting with Port-of-Spain South MP Marlene Mc Donald suggested that unregistered J’Ouvert bands be shifted from Woodbrook to Port-of-Spain for Carnival 2019.

She also suggested that bandleaders should pay a deposit fee to the National Carnival Commission (NCC) when registering, change the Woodbrook parade route for all mas bands and ban the use of paint.

Dolly said the deposits can be used as compensation to affected property owners, as well as go towards repainting and repairing of walls that were sprayed with paint and daub with mud by frolicking revellers.

In addition to defacing their properties, Dolly said some residents complained that confetti from one large band got trapped in several air condition units on Warren and Anna Streets, causing the equipment to malfunction, while other residents complained about noise pollution, revellers urinating on their walls and fences and driveways being blocked by for prolonged periods.

“This defacing of the walls was extensive this Carnival. It did not only happen to residents in Woodbrook but in Newtown, St James and St Clair also. When I look at it, the situation is worse than last year. Last year, I was specifically targeted…my wall was defaced because the masqueraders said I wanted to spoil their Carnival.”

Dolly said the residents felt violated, stating that “the paint has now become a weapon by the masqueraders.”

Asked if the NCC may have to change the route for the bands,

Dolly said in the past, J’Ouvert was celebrated downtown but has been infiltrating Woodbrook and other areas on the outskirts of Port-of-Spain to the annoyance of residents. Woodbrook councillor June Durham admitted that 10 houses were defaced on O’Connor and Hamilton Holder Streets by revellers. At Warren Street, Durham said one wall crumbled after masqueraders began dancing on it.

“We are still counting the houses that were defaced. The figures are rising as we speak. This cannot continue.”

Durham is compiling a list of the affected properties which will be forwarded to Port-of-Spain Mayor Joel Martinez.

“J’Ouvert bands are not registered.

We had about 75 bands in the area for Carnival. They are not regulated. The NCC has to plan a route for these bands to restore law and order.”

Asked if changing the route for the bands was an option, Martinez said he intended to have a meeting with the residents this week and McDonald and if residents prefer not to have the bands pass in front of their homes “then we will take that into consideration as to what logistically can be changed. I will have a chat with NCC on that.”

As for bands who are guilty of defacing the walls but do not want to take responsibility for their actions, Martinez said those bands will have to register with NCC next year “and when the registration period comes we may have to take action against them.”

Martinez said bands may be liable to pay a deposit during registration which would be withheld for cleaning and repainting of walls they defaced.

Leading up to Carnival, Martinez had appealed to bandleaders to warn their members from defacing walls while on the parade route but this not heeded.

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