Wednesday 19 September, 2018

Fete promoters seek Police Commissioner's help to manage police costs

Patrons enjoy themselves at a FallOut fete.

Patrons enjoy themselves at a FallOut fete.

Carnival fete promoters have been complaining for years about the rising costs of having police officers at their events, the main requirement in the application for bar licenses. 

They have described the process as arbitrary with the courts recommending an increase in the allocation of police officers every year without a clear rationale. They claim these costs are contributing to the high prices of events. 

Randy Glasgow, interim Chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Promoters Assocation is now calling on newly-installed Police Commissioner Gary Griffith to intervene to save Carnival.

In a release, Glasgow called on the Griffith to assist in dealing with the process for getting bar licenses to help save the sector.

"The present system allows the police to determine how much police officers must be assigned to an event before getting a bar license and when the hearing for this license goes before the court".

He is asking the police to factor the present economic situation of the country and reduce strengths for small, medium and large events that sometimes total  25 to 230 officers, costing in ranges from $15,000.to  $240,000.

"In our own situation, this year, RGP downsized Ladies Night Out moving from Hasely Crawford Stadium to a much smaller Jean Pierre Complex but was still given the same strength of officers from Hasely Crawford Stadium, despite actually begging senior officers at the Western Division about the economic challenges and smaller venue," he said. 

Glasgow is also asking Griffith to ensure the process for bar licenses are prepared and taken to court by police months ahead of events.

"If this is done, event promoters could factor the police cost and make the necessary budget adjustments like any other business to ensure the viability of events or cancel the event altogether and not spend on marketing, deposits to artistes and venue etc ".

"The present system doesn't allow for this to happen. Ninety-five percent of court hearings for bar licenses happens the week of the event," he said. 

Glasgow said quite a few promoters are now cancelling events after getting the police allocation the same week of the event because they can't afford the additional costs. 

"Because of the economic and bureaucratic factors Trinidad and Tobago Carnival and entertainment sector have stood still and in many cases regressed while other destination Carnivals around the region have flourished. Perhaps this is the reason several of these islands are confident enough to declare in international marketing, their Carnivals and shows are the best in the region," he said.

Glasgow has requested a meeting with Griffith and told Loop he is confident they will get an audience.