Sunday 11th February , 2007

Denzil Mohammed
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Please frisk me

You know things bad when you stand dumbly at the entrance of an all-inclusive fete waiting to be frisked, searched, patted, spun around and scanned, and the security not even worrying with you.

You’d swear T&T suddenly became crime-free, that the blimp round up all the criminal and them under the spotlight of that helicopter that does wake me up every night.

Don’t doubt: Carnival today is utterly all-inclusive, in as much as it excludes as many as it can. Every corporate body, NGO, government arm and residential area has some all-inclusive simmie-dimmie.

This weekend alone, three different Rotary Clubs are throwing separate all-inclusive fetes. Hell, families and celebrities throw parties themselves at their houses or ranches (yes, some people have ranches).

But don’t doubt: I all up in the all-inclusive scene. Seen.

You may know by now, I like my grub, and I like my grog. I find it miraculous that one can get all one wants to eat and drink, wine and grind to performers galore, and hobnob with the rich and famous all in one place for one price (until everybody eat out the geera pork).

Price, of course, is a painful point. At $300 to $1,000 a fete, you’d think they’d up the ante from geera pork.

But all-inclusives serve particular social functions indicative of not only the country’s wealth and its people’s materialism, but also T&T’s immoderate and ubiquitous crime surge.

That financially capable Carnival lovers have overwhelming opportunities to party to the same soca singers in safety as do those without such means is, for the burgeoning elitist crowd, comforting. Destra could go from the stadium, where three people were stabbed/shot to death a week ago, to the country club, where, it is assumed, the only crime that can take place is a fashion one.

But crime permeates all and everything.

How come at some all-inclusive fetes you could just walk through the place without even emptying a pocket? At Blue Range, there was a camera and two laptops. And at O’Farrell’s fete (on his ranch, in the bush), there was barely any light, much less a metal detector.

There’s enough security at the National Library, where children (presumably) go to read storybooks, to rival JFK airport. And yet, at places teeming with drunkenness and disorderliness where grown men stumble around like they now learning how to walk, where the heat can rise in one’s system to the point of violence at the simple stub of a toe, there was none of the security checks Trinis have come to expect—even demand.

Granted, the apparent lack of security did somehow create a good feeling among party-goers: that we were all here to have safe, clean fun together; that none of us was a criminal. But how contrary. I was discomforted by it.

“They not expecting that kind of crowd,” said a friend of mine.

“They can’t even afford to come to this fete.”

That’s taking a helluva lot for granted.

There was a drive-by shooting at Movie-Towne in 2003, security shot two men at the Hilton last month, and a man was gunned down after partying at 51 Degrees two years ago.

The image of gaping holes in the windows and windscreens of every other car parked along Long Circular Road outside the country club two Carnival Sundays ago, including the car that took me there, will never escape my memory. It was an all-inclusive fete, that went until J’Ouvert morning, which lacked sufficient parking, and had no security on the street, where most of its patrons parked.

With all the noise of the fete inside and music trucks on the road, who would hear a thousand car alarms go off? Who would even be sober enough to care?

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