President of the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) Gregory Aboud yesterday blamed the announcement of a possible terror plot by security forces for what the organisation regarded as a poor turnout at this year’s Republic Bank Junior Parade of the Bands.
Aboud said this year’s event in downtown Port-of-Spain was unusually quiet in comparison to previous years.
“Lack of certainty are not conditions that are good for our Carnival. We felt the situation could have been handled to bring more certainty,” he said.
“I don’t know if it is connected to the doubts and fears that have been raised by others but we certainly feel the need for more involvement from a much higher level in the Government than the communications or some PR officer who deflected all of the questions the media had which basically reflect the concerns of the citizens.”
At a media briefing on Thursday, ASP Michael Jackman revealed there was a possible terrorist attack in the works but declined to elaborate.
Jackman would only say the threat was one that could have involved possible criminal conduct and would have been disruptive to the activities surrounding the Carnival.
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams at a news conference, yesterday, at Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain, said there was still a threat but urged the public to still go out and enjoy Carnival.
Alluding to Thursday’s news briefing, Aboud said the situation was handled badly.
He said the security forces should have emulated their foreign-based security counterparts in terms of the manner in which the news of the alleged terror plot broke.
“We understand the need to protect some vital information and we have become accustomed to seeing, when we watch foreign news, that no communications unit of any police department comes to give information.
“As soon as this happens, the commissioner himself, the minister himself, those with the highest level of responsibility come and they explain the situation.
“The public understands that they are taking responsibility for their public safety and we get some assurance.”
“Instead, unfortunately, we get the press conference from the communications division in which the journalist had most of their questions deflected and unanswered.”