The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) is reminding the general public that all Carnival activities for 2020 have been canceled and is warning persons who are engaging themselves in Carnival-like celebrations to cease and desist from doing so.
Last weekend saw the circulation of many videos of people playing ‘Jab Jab’ in the streets as Grenada celebrated emancipation. However, there are no reports of arrests being made so far. The RGPF said that it has chosen the path of dialogue and forbearance; but it is prepared to enforce the laws, if need be.
The RGPF has issued an appeal to persons to adhere to the Rules and Regulations that are in place to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19, in particular the wearing of masks, physical distancing and the practices of effective personal hygiene.
“We are also appealing to the general public to cooperate with the police and refrain from the playing of ‘Jab-Jab’ and engaging in Carnival-like activities, all of which are illegal at this time,” the RGPF said in a press release.
Despite the warning, a $300 show is being advertised for local artistes on Sunday August 09 with unlimited food and drinks.
August Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 are normal working days this year and the Government of Grenada said that while its decision to cancel the 2020 Carnival celebrations might be an unpopular one, it is intended to protect public health and safety in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister, Dr the Rt Hon Keith Mitchell, who tabled the COVID-19 Cancellation of Carnival August Celebrations Bill 2020, at a meeting of the House of Representatives on Wednesday July 29, said Government must act in the best interest of public health.
In 2019, 13,327 visitors arrived in Grenada during the Carnival period. The figure represented an increase of almost 1,000 visitors over 2018 statistics. Further, many of these visitors had already booked tickets to return for the 2020 celebrations.
Dr Mitchell said the financially prudent decision would be to stage the festival, especially in light of the significant drop in revenue as a result of three months of no productivity due to the lockdown. However, as a responsible government, the gains made so far must be protected.
“What would the revenue mean to government, when the people the government is supposed to protect get infected, and some even go through serious illness that can affect them for life or even cause their death?” the Prime Minister asked.
Throwing her full support behind the bill, Tourism Minister, Hon Clarice Modeste Curwen said Carnival has made Grenada a competitive destination, the gains made through collective sacrifice of the past few months must not be thrown away.
Minister for Health, Hon Nickolas Steele said tabling the bill is not the desire of a cruel, authoritarian government, nor is it a political policy. “We are a responsible government, and as such, we are not prepared to play Russian roulette with the lives of our citizens.”