Flashback: Dressed as a fire god, Curtis Dyer heading along Eastern Parkway during a West Indian-American Day Parade. (FILE)
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NEW YORK – The New York Police Department (NYPD) says it is heightening security for this year’s Caribbean J’Ouvert celebration in Brooklyn, saying that it is still concerned about violence that had rocked the event in past years.
The Caribbean celebration will now start at 6 a.m. (local time) on Monday, rather than at earlier hours, as in previous years.
The J’Ouvert celebration takes place ahead of the massive West Indian American Day Carnival Parade on one of Brooklyn’s major thoroughfares, Eastern Parkway.
“We learned, with last year’s success, that each of us has the ability to make J’Ouvert a safe and highly enjoyable event,” NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill told reporters.
“Through the evolution of this passionate celebration of Caribbean culture, the NYPD has built trust and strengthened relationships with many of the stakeholders, and we know we’re always stronger and more effective together,” he added.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio noted that “J’Ouvert is one of the most vibrant cultural celebrations in our city, and we’re working with the community to make the festivities are enjoyable for all.
“In the safest big city in America, no one should have to choose between ensuring their safety and celebrating their heritage,” he said.
The NYPD said hundreds of additional uniformed officers will provide security at 13 secure entry points and along the two-mile parade route, where participants and spectators will be screened for weapons and alcoholic beverages.
In 2015, the Caribbean J’ouvert was marred by gun violence in 2015, when the former legal aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Carey Gabay, 43 – a Jamaican, died, after being shot in the head in a crossfire, while walking home. (CMC)