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Wednesday, February 10, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
JENSEN LA VENDE
People s National Movement
(PNM) councillor Jason Alexan-
der yesterday called for security
guards who work in Carnival
bands to undergo proper train-
ing, after he was beaten by
guards from the band Yuma on
In a telephone interview with
the T&T Guardian yesterday,
Alexander said he was speaking
with his attorney on the best
way forward following the beat-
ing, part of which was recorded
and posted on social network
The 49-second clip, which
sparked outrage online, showed
Alexander being kicked, cuffed,
slapped and beaten with a baton
by male security officers and
one female, all dressed in black.
Alexander said around 5.30
pm he was at Taylor Street,
Woodbrook, where he had met
up with friends who were play-
ing in Yuma. Alexander, who
was playing with Island People,
said he was told to leave the
band by security officers.
He said he turned to tell his
friends he was leaving, but
before he could do so he was
accosted by the guards, who
shoved him out of the band.
Alexander said one of his
female friends attempted to
intervene on his behalf, but she
was cuffed in the face by a male
security guard, while another of
his friends was shoved and
another slapped---despite the
fact that they were all legitimate
Yuma band members.
After the brutal attack he and
his friends were all chased away
from the band.
"It could have been anyone,
forget the title and whatever, but
those guards need training. Right
now I am considering my
options and I am receiving
advice from my lawyers,"
Alexander, who suffered injuries
to his back, elbow and other
parts of his body, told the T&T
Guardian yesterday, adding that
he had already reported the inci-
dent to the Woodbrook Police
Station and would be meeting
with the Minister of Culture
Nyan Gadsby-Dolly and other
One of the three Canadian
nationals involved in the inci-
dent, Nzunaki Tuitt, 35, said she
would be taking the matter to
the Canadian Embassy today
along with compatriot Jenice
Tuitt said she wanted all her
money back as she did not have
a true Yuma experience and was
willing to give back the costume
"The video was just the rem-
nant of what happened. Jason
was already outside the band
and he saw that they slapped
me and he came back and they
beat him. They bullied him," an
upset Tuitt said.
"I was thrown out because I
told them they didn t need to
push him and then when I start-
ed to mouth off on them a man
slapped me and my friend came
to my aid and she was cuffed in
Tuitt said someone needs to
be charged for assaulting them
and also criticised police officers
along the band route who,
instead of taking the initial
report, told the women to go to
the Woodbrook Police Station.
She said the use of force by
the guards was uncalled for, as
Alexander had already left the
She says she was later told
that the guards involved were
fired, but she hopes the band s
management goes a step further
and informs the police of those
who may have been responsible
for the attacks.
Angry victims to take action
Band security attacks PNM councillor, friends
Carnival experience marred
Canadian national Nzunaki Tuitt said yesterday
that the unsavoury incident she experienced in
Yuma had marred their entire Carnival.
"Today (yesterday) we just put the costume on
because it is pretty and went to the avenue,
bought something to eat and came back home,"
Tuitt, who said this Carnival was her third
consecutive time playing with the band, explained.
"This is surreal. And ten minutes before the
incident I saw a man bleeding being led away by
the guards thinking he was a hooligan, not
knowing we would have been next. He (Alexander)
could have died and they had no grounds to hit us."
Speaking at the Socadrome, Hasely Crawford
Stadium, yesterday, Yuma public relations officer
Acacia De Verteuil said the band had admonished
staff to exercise some more restraint in the wake
of the incident. She added that such incidents had
never occurred before and they "are all shocked"
by what happened.
Yuma also issued a statement saying they were
aware of the incident, had removed those
responsible and were in talks with patrons as well
as another affected person, adding they would
give this their full attention.
"That aspect of our security and its extraction
protocols are being reviewed. The members
involved have been replaced. We are committed to
serving our masqueraders and thank them for
being with us," the statement added.
Monday's incident was reminiscent of one last
year, where another group of security officers beat
a man who entered their band. The guards beat
and stabbed 21-year-old Kyshon Bell, of Queen
Street, Port-of-Spain, last Carnival Tuesday, after
he was accused of throwing a bottle into the band.
The incident occurred on Ariapita Avenue,
Woodbrook, shortly after 6.30 pm, police said, and
he died two hours later at the Port-of-Spain
No one has ever been charged in that incident.
Commenting on the video yesterday, attorney
and United National Congress Senator Wayne
Sturge said the act of bands throwing people out
while masqueraders chipped along public streets
was without any legal backing.
Sturge said the bands operated under a
landlord/tenant type relationship for certain areas,
like the Nelson Mandela Park, where bands rented
part of the facility for lunch and other activities. As
such, he said bands could not exclude people from
the public streets.
"You can't even exclude a non-band member
from the band. What you can do is make sure that
they don't get something to eat or drink. If the
man is chipping down the road, outside the judging
point, you can't exclude him. It is a public road, it
belongs to all citizens. Until they pass a law saying
that they (bands) have exclusive rights to the
cordoned off parts of the road then they don't
have such rights. They have been acting illegally,"
Sturge added that apart from civil proceedings,
there could be a case of criminal liability against
the band if it was proven that the guards acted on
instructions to use such force to expel unwanted
masqueraders from the band.
He added that force beyond common assault
was an offence and depending on the injuries
sustained the punishment could increase as the
offence would vary.
PNM local government
councillor Jason Alexander who
was beaten by members of
Yuma mas band's security
Masqueraders from Yuma's Indulge run onto the
Socadrome stage at the Jean Pierre Complex during
the Parade of Bands, yesterday. PHOTO: DAVID WEARS
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