President of the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross Michael Joseph says that enacting legislation to censor the behavior during Carnival will be infringing on the rights of citizens.
He said that if legislation is passed, it should be targeted towards youngsters and adults who over indulge in alcohol consumption thus putting person’s life at risk.
Joseph was a guest on ZDK’s Open Forum on Sunday.
“Really and truly, do we have the constitutional right to say to adults, “you can or you can’t drink alcohol or you can or can’t enjoy yourself during carnival?”..this i don;t think is necessary, because Carnival is a part of our culture and this part of what we know and to try and control Carnival is an issue.”
“I think what we need to focus on is the over use and misuse of alcohol, specifically amongst young people and even adults who over use alcohol and then take to the roads and drive, this is where the issue is……if it’s a fact that society is at danger, this is where I think that legislation needs to be put in place to protect other people but not necessarily to restrain an individual from their constitutional right of enjoying themselves,” he said.
He added that the cost of the all-inclusive fetes held during the Carnival festivities acts as one of the driving forces which push individuals to drink their monies worth.
“I’m not anti-carnival but when we look at the number of all-inclusive events and we see an individual pays $150-$200, you know what these young people are saying?.. ‘I’m going to drink my monies worth at any cost..without even realizing that some of them are crossing the control limit,” he noted.
Head of the Christian Ministries Church, Bishop Charlesworth Browne was amongst a number of persons who called on the government to enact legislation to censor the behaviour exhibited by Carnival revellers.
Meantime, Joseph said that parents should be held accountable for their child’s actions during these fetes.
He was speaking in light of reports coming from EMS officials following the Carnival season that the youngest person transported to the Mount St. John’s for overindulging in alcohol was a 14 years old female.
” At the end of a day if a child goes out at 14 years old to an event and the child get intoxicated then this parent has a responsibility to answer for what happened and somebody has to be held accountable for the fact that this child’s life was endangered. We can’t go along the route of charging a 14 year old for drinking alcohol excessively, we have to find some other way,” the Red Cross President admonished.