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This Is Not A Fete In Here...

By Terry Joseph
September 28, 2002

That a couple of residents of Alyce Glen could convince the courts to scuttle an all-inclusive fete scheduled for this afternoon at the Poison Mas Camp in their neighbourhood sounds like democracy at work, but reeks of something else as well.

This was not a Poison jam like the one scheduled for Sunday next at Pier 1. It was a contained activity catering for 250 people and featuring the bandís DJs as they presented prototypes for Carnival 2003.

Poison obtained approval from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), which they thought to be their last major hurdle, as they did not need a bar licence for an all-inclusive fete.

Then comes two residents who, upon receiving complimentary tickets for the event, file an injunction on the basis that "the area does not afford parking for that many guests and at such activities, people leave a mess in their wake."

The two residents were successful on Friday evening, less than 24 hours before the Poison fete was due to get underway, although band officials gave guarantees about post-event clean up and promised to monitor parking.

This is not a complaint about magistrate Deborah Thomas-Felix (who granted the injunction). Indeed, she has been thoroughly accommodating in a number of other circumstances and was, after all, going by the law of the land.

Ironically, the complainants are members of the Alyce Glen Residents Association, who throw annual fetes on the playfield directly across the street from the Poison Mas Camp. Those events accommodate up to 1,500 persons who, one presumes have the same parking problems and are no less discreet in disposing of cups and bottles after the event.

Interestingly, for the past four years, Poison has donated its DJs and band to the Alyce Glen Residents Association fete and sells tickets to the event at its mas camp; as a way of establishing itself as good neighbours.

Precisely what happens on the first day of Poison registration is not clear, since the opening day experience often attracts numbers far in excess of 250 rushing to get on board. On the first day of registration at Harts Ltd more than 600 persons turned up between 4 pm and 8 pm.

Are we getting just a little "gung ho" about people enjoying themselves? Surely, a fete that finishes at 10 pm on a Saturday night cannot be too much of a disturbance even to the most sensitive of neighbours.

Given the political and economic conditions under which we operate, shouldn't we be a little bit more careful about stopping people from enjoying distractions?

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