As Antigua and Barbuda’s Carnival approaches and fete season continues to peak, Chief Medical Officer (Ag), Dr. James Knight has issued an appeal to the public to exercise responsibility and caution even in the absence of regulation.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, DR. Knight said during this time of year, those in public health and safety become concern about the excessive consumption of alcohol by young people and the lack of adequate safety measures in the street parades.
He spoke of the annual pre-carnival fetes and carnival packages and highlighted those that are all inclusive which he says encourages young people to drink their full money’s worth.
According to the Chief Medical Officer, the unlimited alcohol mixed with dangerous circumstances, especially during street parades is a lethal mixture. The official lamented that for almost a decade officials from the Ministry of Health, supported by the Director of the National Office of Disaster Services, have been calling for, and suggesting safety measures to prevent persons on the road during parades from falling between the wheels of the parade trucks.
He said instead wheels are covered with bits of plywood, which can only trap the unlucky person who may fall before them. Dr. Knight suggested that in order for these concerns to be addressed, a national discussion need to be held.
He said in order to tackle alcohol abuse among young people fetes should be examined, and further suggested that in the case of the all-inclusive, the alcohol should be excluded or separate. “One suggestion is that a limited amount of alcohol chits could be provided with the purchase of the tickets,” the Dr. recommended.
And as it relates to street parades, he said a simple device to prevent people from falling between the front and back wheels, and being rolled over by the latter is needed.
According to Dr. Knight once this is done, the greatest remaining danger would be the lack of judgment by persons who have had excessive alcohol.