|Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite|
Government’s Department of Emergency Management (DEM) could not and did not cancel any public or private event or show last Sunday; and it has categorically refuted any such allegations.
That is the reaction from Minister of Home Affairs and Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, who has responsibility for the DEM. He was at the time commenting on complaints from organisers of the Reggae on the Hill concert that the DEM had cancelled its Sunday show.
The Minister said he had sought to get to the bottom of the accusation, and after listening to a recording of the comments made on radio, and speaking to the DEM official, who is alleged to have cancelled the event, he is clear in his mind that "the allegations are baseless".
He said the DEM official explained that one of the event organisers, Adisa Andwele, also known as Aja, called the (DEM) office on two occasions early on Sunday, May 1. During the first call, he (Aja) expressed uncertainty about the event being held that day because of the persistent heavy rainfall, and he indicated that he wanted to do a site visit to Farley Hill to get a first-hand look at conditions to determine if the show would go on.
??According to the DEM, Aja informed that office in his second call that, after he and the other organisers had visited Farley Hill, it was decided to postpone the event, blaming the inclement weather and the drenched grounds for the decision. Aja had also conveyed this information to the Police that same morning.
The DEM official said he only offered advice, which was solicited by Aja, because the country was under a flood watch. "As to the decision to cancel or postpone the event, that was made entirely by Aja. Indeed, the telephone records will show that Aja called DEM twice on the morning of Sunday, May 1; we did not call him. His explicit communication to us was that the event was off for that day. We only repeated the message that was relayed to DEM when a radio station sought to ascertain the status of the event; and the source was attributed to the organisers.
"It is ludicrous to even imagine that DEM could unilaterally call off a private event; it was not our show and not our decision to make.?? It is, therefore, most unfortunate that, in seeking to recoup any losses suffered because of severe weather conditions – an act of nature, the organisers were now trying to apportion blame," he said.
In a related matter, the Attorney General said he was surprised that the event was even held the Monday, as conditions had further deteriorated during that day. "The result is that the National Conservation Commission (NCC) has had to close Farley Hill to the public for the past two days because of the bad state in which it was left. NCC now has to do some restorative work. I wonder who will foot the bill to rehabilitate Farley Hill Park?" he asked.