January 9th, 2021
CoP: Virtual Carnival fetes cannot and should not be used as an avenue to have Mass Gatherings
Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, has noted the frustration stated by some in relation to the Police enforcing the laws, especially as it pertains to the Public Health Ordinance Regulations brought on by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Commissioner Griffith reminds that these laws have been drafted and are being enforced, not to frustrate anyone, but to save lives, hence, whilst he and the members of the TTPS appreciate the growing frustrations, they underscore the importance of all parties working together towards one objective, which is to maintain the nation’s safety.
CoP Griffith states, “we are not alone in the ever-evolving fight to manage behaviours to decrease the spread, however, what makes it more challenging is the continued push back, including the constant questioning of the enforcement of the Quarantine Act. Our role is to enforce the law – it’s that simple”.
The most recent push back involved the concern by the "but what about posse", of weddings taking place whereby there are reports of 100s in attendance. There is a very specific and scientific reason why the Ordinance made allowances for weddings, but with very clear guidance as to the requirements. One cannot compare a wedding with hundreds of guests to a wedding with ten or twenty guests. CoP Griffith states ‘We have absolutely no issue with the hosting of the smaller weddings, as we have seen an upsurge in this practice, however, the higher the numbers, the higher the risk. And I want to remind the population, that we will enforce the laws, even if it means protecting you from yourself."
CoP Griffith further notes the upsurge of Virtual Carnival fetes, which are being planned to turn into mass gatherings by a few.
These virtual Carnival fetes are being planned via either, a contribution being given for you to get access to the portal, and one can then view the event at their home, or it being done via an open portal that anyone can log on and view the event, with the hope that donations would be forthcoming by those who usually patronize such events annually.
One can understand the rationale of these virtual Carnival events being planned, primarily as an avenue to provide funds for certain institutions to offset annual expenses, inclusive of schools. Unfortunately, these events via a virtual fete, can and would be abused by some, with the Regulations being breached.
This is where the TTPS would yet again intervene, not to be the Grim Reaper of Carnival, but merely to do our job to ensure that the Regulations are not breached and that persons act responsibly.
These virtual Carnival events, if not controlled, would yet again be a cause for the virus to spread, as some who are either irresponsible, or see an opportunity to make a profit, are planning to get unto the site of these Virtual events and set up large screens with powerful sound systems, even in their own back yards, then to have cover charges, or bring a bottle etc, and to have others view the event, and be entertained at such venues, hence turning it into a Carnival fete.
The Commissioner of Police wishes to remind firstly, all organizers and promoters of these virtual Carnival fetes of the dangers that such planned events can have, and also to those who intend to use such feeds from these virtual events to invite many others to their private premises to view and participate in watching these virtual fetes.
Such actions would be seen as Breaches of the Public Health Ordinance Regulations, as you would be turning your private premises into a public place and the Police would act accordingly. He reminds all that effective October 12, 2020, public gatherings up to ten persons are being allowed.
The Commissioner of Police kindly asks that all citizens act responsible and refrain from this practice.
Corporate Communications Unit
January 9th, 2021