No Business as Usual this Carnival
As is usual at this time of year, thousands of jumping Saint Lucians will hit the streets for carnival on Monday and Tuesday. And, as usual, the main public concern will be crime management. At this week’s pre-Cabinet press briefing Police Commissioner Severin Monchery addressed the issue. So far for July, other districts, like Vieux Fort and Roseau Valley, have held their own installments of carnival. Monchery took the opportunity to commend his officers for their efforts at maintaining, so far, a semblance of order at these carnival events.
As the party now moves to the capital, the police commissioner implored the public to conduct themselves in keeping with the law: “We need to ensure that we control our tempers, manage our anger and change our attitudes. This is the time for us to unite and have a good time; not to hurt one another.”
He continued, “More than 140 officers will see to it that carnival is effectively policed so, if you believe someone has infringed your rights, rather than taking matters into your own hands, I urge that you at least speak to a police officer and make a report.”
Monchery cautioned the public that this year’s festivities would not be business as usual. The practice of infiltrating bands will not be tolerated this year. He cited the Criminal Code of Saint Lucia, and the law that prohibits unlawful entry into a band, abusive language, threatening and disorderly behaviour and refusing to leave the band after being requested to do so by an authorized person. The fine for not adhering to this law is $1,000, or imprisonment for one year, or both.
Monchery noted that the law governing behaviour at carnival time is not new, it’s just that it has seldom been implemented. This year, said the commissioner, things will be different. Time will tell if he actually follows the lead set by Mayor Peterson Francis who warned that individuals who urinate in the street would pay the price.
The commissioner also had special words for organisers of so-called mass events. He expressed concern that they have grown accustomed to advertising their promotions before their applications have been processed, clarifying that this is contrary to law. One particular event that caught his attention advertised a 3 a.m. start and a 9 a.m. finish. “This activity will not take place,” emphasised the commissioner, confirming that the police will not permit events to continue past two o’ clock in the morning.
Police Commissioner Severin Monchery (pictured) is insisting on a crime-free Carnival 2018!