SIPPING on a $10 glass bottle of beer at any Carnival-designated area on Carnival Monday and Tuesday could land you three months in jail or a fine of $500.
The announcement was made on Friday by National Security Minister Stuart Young, who said the ban on glass bottles, which came eight years after it was first proposed, is a matter of national safety.
Young, speaking at a media conference at his ministry, said for the years 2014-2018 there were 83 reports of people being injured by glass bottles. The highest was 2018, with 43 reports, more than double the number from the year before which ended with 19 cases.
He said, “I approached the Cabinet to implement a glass ban for 2019, but I approached them too late, and there was insufficient time to do stakeholder consultations. I really don’t know what has happened in the past, but I can tell you that this year it was a unanimous decision supported by all the stakeholders involved.”
Young added: that anyone who contravenes the regulation will be subject to a fine of $500 and possible imprisonment for three months.
Asked why it took so long for the ban to come into effect, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said he drafted a Cabinet note in 2013, but was removed from his position as national security minister before it became law.
He said, “When we enforce certain things it’s not just to inconvenience the individuals. It is really for something much more important, like the safety and wellbeing of citizens in this country.
"What the TTPS will do, we do not want to ask the public to adhere to this based on fear of being apprehended or the consequences. We are asking the public to adhere to this based on a degree of maturity and responsibility.
"This is something which is done worldwide, it is nothing new.”
Griffith added that while the police might be considered lax for not arresting and charging offenders, he was warning the public not to take their “meekness for weakness.”
Young said vendors will be sold drinks in glass bottles but will then have to pour them out into cups. preferably paper.
He advised the public not to enter Carnival areas with glass bottles.
The ban will be in effect between 4am on Carnival Monday, February 24, and midnight on Carnival Tuesday.
A public education drive called Clean Scene, Safe Scene was launched on Friday.
The suggestion to ban glass bottles during Carnival was first made by then Port of Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing in 2012.