J’Ouvert revellers in 2020. – FILE PHOTO/JEFF K MAYERS
POINT FORTIN cops have pulled the plug on a private promoter’s attempt to salvage J’Ouvert celebrations in the borough after they objected to a licence to host the event based on the potential to attract hundreds of people.
Promoter Rick “Countrie Bookie” Davis claimed bias as he referred to mega-events held at the Queen’s Park Savannah, National Stadium in Port of Spain, and other parts of the country over the past two weeks which attracted bigger crowds than his event anticipated.
Davis said he intends to seek legal redress since several borough events already held attracted large crowds.
He also signalled his intention to cut ties with promoting borough events which he has been doing for the past 15 years.
In a Facebook post, Davis, who is in the US where he is hosting a parallel event, said J’Ouvert was moved from the road to an all-inclusive event scheduled for the Clifton Hill Beach Resort from Friday night into Saturday morning.
He said after the government instructed the signature event hosted by the Point Fortin Borough Corporation to be cancelled last week, he met with mayor Saleema Thomas and heads of department, and an indoor J’Ouvert was agreed to as a “plan B.”
Davis said the cancellation of the event cost him approximately $100,000 as he had followed all the police requirements, including no use of glass bottles and getting a dance hall licence.
He said the police objected because they had information that 1,500 people from Port of Spain were scheduled to attend and with covid19 concerns they could not allow the event to take place.
“To me, I saw about 1,500 at Queen’s Park Savannah. To me I saw about 1,500 in the National Stadium, so how can it be you had that crowd at two events in Port of Spain, properly policed, but people in Point Fortin cannot gather to have a good time?
“Today is a sad day in Point Fortin and I guess this would mark the end of my involvement with the Point Fortin Borough celebration. No longer am I prepared to deal with wild cards in a situation where all I am trying to create is peace, love, harmony and unity.”
He said this was not a money-making event for him, as catering an all-inclusive event, with a $250 cover, after paying for the facility, sound and all other infrastructure in place, he was not going to break even.
“But I know that masqueraders who are committed to the band and the brand would have had an avenue, after two years of being locked up in a house, under pressure, mentally, financially and otherwise, would have gotten an opportunity to vent and reunite with family and friends and just free up.”
On April 25, the mayor says the military parade, traditional mas, pan extravaganza ma J’Ouvert street party were being scaled back because of the rise in the number of covid19 cases.