Vendors had mixed views on Carnival Tuesday concerning the ban on glass bottles in selected areas which included Port-of-Spain, San Fernando, the major boroughs and other urban areas.
The police had warned that the Carnival (Prohibition of Glass Bottles) Regulations, 2020, would have been enforced for the Carnival.
The regulations were made by the President under Section 5 of the Public Holidays and Festivals Act.
The Carnival ban on glass bottles lasted from Monday, February 24, 2020 at 4 am to Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at midnight.
According to the legislation anyone held with a glass bottle at any Carnival events in a public place during the Carnival period could have been fined up to $1,000 or arrested and serve up to six months jail time.
The legislation lists the following areas where glass bottles were banned during the Carnival period:
Port-of-Spain, St James, San Juan, Santa Cruz, Maracas Bay, Tunapuna, Arouca, Arima, San Rafael, Maracas St Joseph, Sangre Grande, Rio Claro, Mayaro, Chaguanas, Couva, Freeport, San Fernando, Princes Town, Fyzabad, Siparia, Penal, Cedros, Point Fortin, La Brea, Santa Flora, Scarborough, Crown Point and Roxborough.
Gary George, a vendor who sold in the downtown area on Carnival Monday and Tuesday told the Guardian that he made financial losses because of the no glass bottle policy.
“On Carnival Monday I made $2,200 which was way below what I could have made if I were selling drinks in glass bottles. Up to lunchtime on Tuesday I made $1,000. I sold drinks $10 in a cup when people were complaining they wanted glass bottles. In addition, we found it hard to buy cans of beer wholesale.”
Onecca Akin, who has been a street vendor in downtown Port-of-Spain for the last 20 years said she was not affected by the glass bottle ban. In fact, she boasted that business was much better this Carnival than previous years.
“I thought that this was a good initiative on Commissioner’s Gary Griffith’s part. People use bottles as weapons when the alcohol goes to their heads. Business was better because there was an increased police presence and it felt safer. People have been spending their money more freely and things worked out for me as a vendor.”
Francilia Rogers who sells in one of the booths around the Savannah told the Guardian that her business was not affected by the decision.
This is the first year that she is in business as a vendor.
“The only persons who were affected are those lawless people who drink and get violent. I thought it was a good decision to keep law and order. As for me, my sales were not affected. We were notified in advance of the decision and so we planned ahead.”
Jamelia Victor Bishop said she understands why the decision on glass bottles was made and added that her business was not affected.
“You always have people who wanted their glass bottles and others who would drink out of cans and cups. This is the fourth year I have been doing this and I can’t complain.”
Steve Noel who sold drinks under a tent on Ariapita Avenue agreed with the decision made for the glass bottles but he said, unfortunately, businesses like his lost money as there were people who refuse to drink in cans for physical reasons and so his sales were affected.