Wednesday , March 29 2023

Zero-tolerance for disrupting the joy of Carnival

The Daily Herald writes that Saba Carnival organisers, together with Saba Cultural Foundation are coordinating with Dutch Caribbean Police (KCPN) officials to implement a zero-tolerance policy for an expanded 2014 summer festival.
This year’s 11-day festival will take place from July 24 through August 3. As was the case in previous years, Carnival security at the various events will be provided by event organisers with the support of local government. Additional police officers from St. Maarten, Bonaire and St. Eustatius will be brought in to provide assistance. “Because of the number of attendants, there are safety issues. We have to make sure that things run the proper way. That is different from security.” said KCPN senior officer Wingrove Baker. “Because of the size of the festivities, the police department is also brought in. If there’s an artist on stage and someone runs on stage, we are not really there as bouncers. The security will deal with that. If that becomes a problem with security, we will be there to assist them in their job.”

Police and organisers have reached an agreement that will allow both criminal and civil charges to be brought against anyone, who causes an event to be shut down prematurely. “If anyone starts a fight and the events have to shut down, as organisers, we will start a court case against whoever to seek damages,” Levenstone said. “We have brought in artists from overseas for the people to enjoy. If someone starts a fight, the police decide they will close it down for the rest of the night. You are talking about organisers being thousands of dollars in the red. So the understanding that we have is that if someone starts trouble, we can take them to court with a damage claim.”
As police are also being tasked with maintaining regular peace keeping outside of Carnival, local police agree that it is all the more important to have a zero tolerance environment inside the village. “We want to maintain order and we want the people inside of Carnival to be able to enjoy themselves,” said Baker. “So we sit down with the foundation and we come to a consensus, where we plan certain things so that we, as a police force, can know what to expect. We want to work within the parameters of what the law allows and what the community members can do to enjoy their time.
“But aside from the Carnival festivities that go on, we have the rest of the island to take care of. There are always people who don’t go to Carnival, who want to be safe in their homes. So we want to maintain patrols during those times of the week. We always want a police presence in the village, so that if something happens, we can be right there and act right away.”

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