Police Commissioner Derek Byrne has yet to grant road-closure permission to CayMAS nor the Batabano Committee for 2020 carnival events.

Byrne, speaking in Finance Committee this week, told legislators permission has not been given to either party as he said having two separate events so close together continues to be a concern for his team.

“I think our approach was it is not that we could not manage it or could not handle it. There were two events in quick succession requiring very high levels of policing on the day,” he told legislators, referring to next year’s carnivals.

Byrne was at the time responding to questions from Opposition Leader Arden McLean, who said he believed road closures should be limited to Caymanian national events and it should not be granted for events such as international independence days.

McLean said such events can be held on fields or other facilities rather than closing off Cayman’s roads.

The commissioner, commenting on the carnival situation, said one of his senior officers has met with the two parties involved in the separate events.

“My position at the moment is I have not provided any road closure order for either event at the moment,” Byrne said.

He said from the police perspective they were always concerned with why “couldn’t this event be one single national event”.

“The difference is between two parties,” Byrne added.

Culture Minister Dwayne Seymour weighed in on the issue saying government has gone to “great lengths” to meet with both parties on the issue and find a resolution.

Earlier this year, the ministry announced that there would be one national carnival for 2020. It said it decided that the most suitable schedule for Cayman Islands carnivals would be to hold the junior event on the first weekend in May; the Grand Cayman adult carnival (both Batabano and CayMAS parades) over the second weekend in May; and Braccanal, the Cayman Brac event, on the third weekend in May.

CayMAS officials called that announcement premature and said they did not agree with the dates. They had indicated they would apply to the Governor’s Office should their road closure application be refused.

Seymour said government remained committed to the decision taken earlier this year on the issue.

“This was not a decision we made willy nilly,” he told the Finance Committee.
He said it was a sensitive issue and the ministry really tried to the work with both sides.

Seymour said he asked both sides to give him one year to see how the schedule works.

“I am saddened that we just cannot work together,” Seymour said.

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