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SAFETY FIRST Be Careful this Carnival!

Monday, January 16, 2012


“Jump, wave and misbehave” are the common words that are heard around the Carnival season. However, do we as a people, misbehave too much? One of the major issues with Carnival is security. Even with extra police on the road, the crowd can get very thick in a matter of seconds. It happens so quickly that you miss the moment when your wallet disappears. The security issues of Carnival do not only surround petty theft, but also surround violence, accidents and even death. This brings about the question – Are we really safe during all the “misbehaving” that is Carnival? Doing a quick Google search with just three words, ‘Carnival Killing Trinidad’. One would find an article that is as recent as 2009. The article gives an account of a killing that occurred after an altercation in a fete. One would be quick to argue that this occurred subsequent to the Carnival event, and thus it may not matter with respect to Carnival and its safety. All inclusive fetes tend to have top-of-the-line security, and thus the altercation may not have reached an explosive level. However, the altercation concluded with devastating results. The person in question was a mere 29 years of age. Cooler fetes are branded as a higher risk. If you are a young adult and ready to take on a cooler fete for the first time, your parents may absolutely object to the idea. The first thought that runs through their mind, is a glass bottle being hurled into the air and landing your head. The majority of cooler fetes do not allow glass bottles, or some may not allow them after a certain hour. It is known that some preventative measures are taken in these types of party atmosphere. 
Many may laugh at the thought of a fanny pack jumping up and down with you on the road for Carnival, but in terms of security it is not a bad idea. A fanny pack is a belt that is made to wrap around the waist, with a pouch located to the front. This pouch holds everything, from your wallet to your cellular phone and your keys. Carnival is about looking sexy for most, and the fanny pack is a major ‘no no’ on a festive Carnival costume. Fashion takes a lot of sacrifice, so if it means losing your vex money for Carnival Monday and Tuesday, by all means, make the sacrifice. The effects of alcohol are usually attributed to violent acts around Carnival time. In Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean, alcohol is combined into concoctions that result in synergistic effects. Recently, shots were being sampled at a popular watering hole along the avenue. That night, I was so shocked when I was offered an energy drink to chase with my tequila shots. I wondered if their aim was to make my head spin till walking in a straight line was impossible. I did consume both products before, but never together. When our people have created songs that promote these types of concoctions, it encourages widespread consumption.
Here are some tips for Carnival Safety:
When attending parties and other activities you are reminded that you should:
• Wear minimal jewellery.
• Travel in groups to and from activities.
• Not carry around or display large amounts of money.
• Not have wallets and change purses visible. 
• Not accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended.
• Prearrange transport arrangements and designate a non-drinker as your driver. 
Parents and guardians are reminded that their children should:
• All wear identification cards bearing their name, name of parent/guardian, address and telephone number. 
• Not be left unsupervised at home.
• Not be left in the charge of strangers.
• Not use public conveniences unless an adult accompanies them.
• Not accept food or drink from strangers.
• Not be taken to fetes, calypso tents and other adult shows. 
When leaving your households you are reminded that you should:
• Ensure that you secure your premises. 
• Secure all ladders and other implements in a locked room.
• Not leave keys in mailboxes or under door mats.
• Notify the police if you are going to be away for long periods.
• Have a friend or relative check the household to remove newspapers, milk and other deliveries. 
• Teach your children to lock the doors when they enter.
• Ensure that the property is illuminated at night.
• Be observant when returning home, especially at night.
When driving to fetes and other activities you are reminded that you should:
• Ensure that your vehicle is properly secured.
• Use paid car parks whenever possible.
• Not overcrowd vehicles.
• Not drink and drive.
• Lock doors when vehicle is in motion.
• Notify the police whenever you observe any strange activities around vehicles.
• Obey traffic signs re: parking.
• Not leave your vehicle unattended with keys in the ignition.
• Not leave your vehicle unattended with engine running.
• Not leave valuable items exposed in your vehicle.
• Be cautious of persons loitering near traffic lights.
• Have your keys in hand when you approach your vehicle.
• Be vigilant at all times when returning home especially at night and if you are travelling alone. 
Remember it is an offence to:
• Go through a RED LIGHT even at nights.
• Travel in open trays of pick-up trucks.
Visitors to Trinidad and Tobago are 
reminded that they should:
• Carry some form of identification on their person when attending activities.
• Take public transportation with ‘H’ being the first letter on the number plate. 
• Verify the cost of transportation before boarding hired vehicles.
• Avoid dark and lonely areas, i.e. walking through the Queen’s Park Savannah at night. 
• Not accept lifts from strangers.
• Not carry around or display large amounts of cash.
• Secure wallets and purses especially in crowded areas.
• Find a police officer if in need of assistance.



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