by Linda Straker
- Emergency Powers regulations require permission to host social activities
- Once permission is granted, some events become carnival-like activities
- Some organisers have been charged, and attendees ticketed for violating regulations
Edvin Martin Commissioner of Police has admitted that some promoters and event organisers purposely provide misleading information when applying to the police to host a social/cultural event. Once the permission is granted, the events are turned into carnival-like activities which violate the Emergency Powers regulations.
Grenada is under a State of Emergency because of Covid-19. The Emergency Powers regulations are enforced as part of measures aimed at reducing the movement of people with a wider goal of controlling and containing the transmission of Covid-19. There are presently 2 active imported cases on island.
Included in the regulations are a midnight curfew and the requirement for permission from the police and the Covid-19 Committee for the hosting of social activities. In recent weeks there has been a host of “illegal carnival-like activities” resulting in some organisers being charged and attendees ticketed for violating the regulations.
A recent example is an entertainment venue in St Andrew that applied for permission to have a sit-down event of 60 persons, which turned into a carnival-like fete was attended by hundreds of patrons.
“The permission, it clearly stated no party or carnival type activity,” Martin said during the weekly post-cabinet briefing on Tuesday. “However, my biggest disappointment with this event is that the conditions as stipulated to the organiser were grossly violated with my police officers being at the venue.” He disclosed that an internal investigation has commenced as to why no action was taken when the regulations were obviously violated. “As to why this has happened is a matter of an internal investigation which is well on the way, but I want to assure members of the public that I take full responsibility for the inaction of officers in policing the event,” he said. “There is a fundamental difference with police being present and policing the event, because policing in and of itself has to do with enforcement of rules, regulations and laws.”
Besides the St Andrew location violation, Martin told the media of other instances where permission was granted based on the application, but the event turned into something totally different. Other examples of deceit include seeking permission to host a charity event to raise funds to offset medical bills, and a request for a birthday party of a 90-year-old, both of which became carnival-like events.
Permission to host events are granted based on purpose, venue and application of the Emergency Powers regulations. Individuals who are not granted permission to host any event can be charged a maximum of EC$1,000.