NEW YORK, United States, Thursday September 8, 2016 – J’ouvert must go on.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has ruled out cancelling the predawn festival – which precedes the New York Caribbean Carnival Parade – after two people were killed by errant bullets during the Brooklyn event.
It appeared on Monday after the shootings that left two dead, that nixing the violence-marred street event was a possibility when de Blasio said “all options are on the table.”
“J’Ouvert will continue. It’s an event that’s very important to the community,” de Blasio said. “We were not including the option of ending something that has gone on for decades.”
A handful of other elected officials disagreed, saying J’Ouvert — which floods streets in Crown Heights and Flatbush — needed to be suspended or significantly restricted.
The deaths of Tyreke Borel, 17, and Tiarah Poyau, 22, at J’Ouvert came despite a massive deployment of cops designed to prevent bloodshed.
The fatal shootings at J’Ouvert came nearly a year after governor’s aide Carey Gabay, 43, was shot and killed in a gang crossfire during the same event.
“It is with a heavy heart that I call for a suspension of the J’Ouvert celebration,” said Assemblyman Walter Mosley (D-Brooklyn) whose district includes Prospect Heights and parts of Crown Heights.
Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, whose district includes parts of Crown Heights, said J’Ouvert should be restricted like Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
“It should be held in a specific area and not all over the place,” Robinson (D-Brooklyn) said.
But other politicians were skeptical how J’Ouvert could be suspended.
“The only way you could cancel J’Ouvert and all those different elements is if you placed a curfew on people and enforced it with the Police Department, martial law, or the National Guard,” Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D-Brooklyn) said.
State Senator Kevin Parker, whose district includes Flatbush and East Flatbush (D-Brooklyn) agreed.
“We have in our community a violence problem, not a J’Ouvert problem,” Parker said.
The celebration is not associated with the New York Caribbean Carnival Parade. (New York Daily News)