Document outlines safety guidelines for Carnival

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In an effort to keep the public safe during the 60th Anniversary of Antigua & Barbuda’s Carnival, a document has been prepared, giving specific safety measures that should be taken during parades.
Director of the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) Philmore Mullin said that the Antigua & Barbuda Carnival Parade Safety Rules 2017 is a long-awaited document that has been in the works for years.
He noted that after the Carnival season, stakeholders will come together to review the festival and the document to determine whether or not changes need to be made to revise the document.
“What we are seeing is the coming of age of discussions that were had over a prolonged period of time. What these guidelines basically do is become an annex to the document that was recommended by my office.”
“The fact that it’s in writing and is a part of that document lends for easy amendment because when you are doing your review at the end of carnival, you will be reviewing it against a set of standards and that can only mean improvements as the years go by,” Mullin said on OBSERVER Radio’s Voice of the People yesterday.
The Antigua & Barbuda Carnival Parade Safety Rules 2017 specifically outlines the required measurements for plywood covering truck wheels, speakers, the gear that people clearing electrical wires need, the requirements needed to drive vehicles in the parade and consumption of alcohol by minors to highlight a few.
Birchfield Osborne, a member of the board of the Festivals Commission with responsibility for safety, explained that those in the field of public safety such as the police, fire officials and representatives from NODS, helped form the guidelines.
Osborne said that the formulation of the document did not include those in mas because of the length of time that it would have taken to complete the document.
“We invited the police to have a discussion with the mas people after this document was done, simply because we have to put something to them. If you wait for everybody to give input for a document, it will never be complete,” he said.
However, Director of Myst Carnival Michael Freeland said that stakeholders who are directly involved in the execution of the festival should have been given an opportunity to provide input based on what they see on the road each year.
Freeland added that as far as he was aware, proper inspections of the Carnival routes passing though St John’s City are not carried out.
“One of the things some of these committees seem to neglect is the stakeholders’ concerns. Even though the committee may not have taken a drive and seen it for themselves, I can almost attest to the fact that they have been more than advised either by the police or by other mas troupes of some of the security concerns,” he said.
The Myst Carnival Director said that although his team took the guidelines into consideration, they have been practising these safety measures since the band’s conception.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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