Sean Bryson
Ken Livingstones GLA Carnival Review Group came under attack last Thursday, 26th October, at the Carnival Residents Association Annual General Meeting. The GLA Review Panel, which was created in a move to address residential problems with relation to the Notting Hill Carnival FREE Advertising Online
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Carnival Round Up - 2000

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Notting Hill Carnival
Labroke Grove is the heart of the spectacular Notting Hill Carnival, held each August Bank Holiday since 1966. This holiday always falls on the last weekend of August with Sunday and Monday being the major carnival days. The festivities started as a local affair set up by the West Indian immigrants of the area and has become a full-blooded Caribbean carnival, attracting millions of people from all around the world. There are scores of massive 'sound systems', many spectacular floats and steel drum bands additionally, to keep you well fed, there are hundreds of stalls lining the streets of the area selling all sorts of food and drink including Caribbean specialities

GLA Carnival Review Group Under Attack 3/11/00
Ken Livingstones GLA Carnival Review Group came under attack last Thursday, 26th October, at the Carnival Residents Association Annual General Meeting. The GLA Review Panel, which was created in a move to address residential problems with relation to the Notting Hill Carnival, has been criticized by community organizations and local authorities for failing to provide any local representation on its board. The GLA Review also chose to hold their independent review meeting on the 26th October, a move seen as being in direct conflict to the interests of local residential groups.The AGM, chaired by Cy Ford, Chairman of the Carnival Residents Group, opened with apologies from local MP Karen Buck, Clare Holder, Chief Executive of the Carnival Committee and Lee Jasper, the chair of the Carnival Review Panel. Angela Bray, the Local Assembly Member for Notting Hill, did attend on behalf of the Review Panel, in what she stated was a move to ensure that residential concerns were heard and received. Ms Bray backed local concern with regard to the Review Panel, I am also uncomfortable about the way in which the group was set up there should certainly be representation from local authorities and resident groups. She highlighted issues such as noise, location, duration, size and safety as important areas in need of negotiation and asked local residents to voice their concerns, opinions and ideas so that they could be relayed back to the Review Panel. A major problem expressed by local residential groups is the lack of response to local voices and opinions. Cy Ford stated at the Post Carnival Meeting earlier this month: We come here every year, we voice the same concerns every year, yet nothing ever happens. Residents feel that there is no firm body that appears to have absolute influence over the Carnival, with all organizations involved shrugging off responsibilities when complaints or concerns are expressed. Martin Kingsford, Chief Executive of TMO, stated, The key to all discussions is accountability Who is in charge of the Carnival? Residents should know; they should have rights. The creation of the Carnival Review has not provided any answers to these questions, residents still feel that they do not have a ‘voice’ with respect to the Carnival, There is no recognition of residents in this discussion. Mr Kingsford suggested that an interagency carnival plan should be developed, with open text accountability, People should have faith in these agencies, there should be a chain of command set out in black and white. Attendees of the meeting were both angry and desperate with the issues at hand, they want changes to take place with regard to the organization of the carnival, a majority want the presence of sound systems readdressed believing that they are often the root to many problems of noise, safety and crowd control. Mr Hugh Berger stated: There should be no amplification of music at all whether that be stationary or mobile, the type of music is the problem - aggressive hip hop breeds violence, danger and aggression. However, sound systems have come to represent a large element of the Carnival providing not merely ‘aggressive, violent’ hip hop (Mr Berger’s definition), but also reggae, dance and R&B. The carnival was originally created to promote unity between black and white people in the 1950’s and this may be recognized today in the diversity of music and the people who collect to appreciate it. Organization of the event does need to be addressed, with this year’s carnival presenting many problems with regard to crowd crushes, late unlicensed noise, the devastating deaths of two men and the violent attack and rape of one woman. These are major issues that are at the forefront residents minds, issues that make them uneasy about the event and about living in the area over the August bank holiday, but issues that they believe are not being addressed with respect to the local people. The Carnival Review Panel is due to circulate questionnaires throughout the borough, in an attempt to acquire feedback from local residents in respect of the carnival. It may be described by the panel as a first move to address issues, but residents have been voicing their concerns for many years and cannot be expected to have faith in what can be seen as such a detached and unrepresentative body.

Post Carnival 2000 Review 13/10/00
As the yearly post-carnival meeting took place last Wednesday, local Notting Hill residents voiced their anger over the continual dismissal of their issues and grievances. The meeting, at Isaac Newton Centre in Lancaster Road, Notting Hill, was attended by the largest turnout ever, including the Carnival Residents Group, who were present to discuss issues relating to safety, policing and location of the August Bank Holiday carnival. With the death of two festival-goers, Carnival 2000 presented this years review with many poignant thoughts with regard to overcrowding, violence and organisation. The carnival always appears to have been a double edged knife for locals, whilst being the location to one of the most unique events of its kind, where cultural diversity can be experienced in its most vivid form, the event simultaneously presents many problems to residents located within the vicinity. The meeting was established for residents to voice their opinions on the impact of the carnival weekend on the local community. Mr Cy Ford, the Chairman of Carnival Residents Group, stated that this years Carnival was the largest ever, with the concentration of people causing many problems. Major problems for residents concerned facilities, such as toilets, noise created by sound systems, and the rise in crime. The 'softly softly' approach to policing the event this year has been firmly criticised in the light of the two highly publicised murders. Whilst another event dealt a blow to the image of the carnival yesterday, when it was released by police that a young woman had been attacked and viscously raped on 27th August during the carnival festivities. Detectives kept the investigation of the rape a secret for more than a month for "operational reasons". Police today insisted they had not deliberately covered up the incident. With at least 2 million people in attendance this year, Mr Ford was firm to stress that unless something was done to ease the stress on the neighbourhood a major catastrophe could be expected. He was also quick to highlight the opinion that the residents concerns were not being addressed, "Every year we come here, we tell everyone sitting there what we do not agree with. Every year nothing is done, we will be back here next year talking about the same things." Residents feel that they and their issues are brushed aside with regard to the carnival and their frustration couldn't have been illustrated more vividly at the meeting on Wednesday night. Clare Holder, Carnival Trust chief executive, stressed that the meeting was a vocal affair, within which the residents were encouraged to put forward their opinions. She stated that the trust needed to hear about the impact inflicted on the residents throughout the carnival weekend, in order to make changes, however stressed that improvements have been made year after year. The main issue addressed, was crowd management/flow on the carnival route and problem spots where capacity reached saturation point. "Issues need to be discussed with the necessary bodies, such as the local authorities, Greater London Council and the police", Ms Holder stated "a reroute may be the only solution" With regard to an increase in crime, and more specifically the murders of Greg Watson and Abdul Bhatti, Ms Holder said: "It is a sad and regrettable matter, but most of all a waste of valuable lives" An Annual General Meeting is due to be held on Thursday 26th October at 6.30pm, at 'The Small Hall', Kensington Town Hall, Hornton St W8.

Notting Hill Carnival 2000
The Notting Hill Carnival is Europe's largest festival and this year's event attracted up to one million and a half people. The 36th annual Carnival featured more than 75 costume bands and two live stages. For the great majority of visitors, Carnival 2000 was an enjoyable experience. Thunder storms briefly blew in on both days. These may have kept the numbers down compared to last year's record attendance but a little rain was not going to stop those who did come enjoying themselves. While most of the organised sound systems shut down at 7pm last night as scheduled, with the majority of the motorised floats turning their music off two hours later, tens of thousands of people were still out towards midnight at impromptu street parties, refusing to accept that Carnival - and summer with it - was finally over. Dozens of private parties in flats and houses across the carnival area also prolonged the festivities into this morning. "There were floats still coming down Ladbroke Grove at 12.30 at night, when it should have finished at 9.00," said Kensington and Chelsea councillor David Campion. "We will be working with the Carnival organisers to see if we can contain it within the area and finish it on time." The coveted first place at the Panorama steel band competition which takes place on the Saturday before Carnival was won for the first time by The Mangrove Band. For the past nine years the steel band competition has been won by Ebony, pipping Mangrove into second place. There were two fatalities at Carnival, a man was stabbed to death by an unknown assailant in Kensal Road shortly after 2000 on Monday, a Police spokeswoman said. He had been taken by ambulance to St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, where he was declared dead. The second murder also took place on Monday evening. Abdul Bhatti, 28, a salesman from Hounslow, west London, was attacked by robbers and died in hospital on Tuesday night. Its the first fatalities since 1997. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur said: "Well over one and a half million people have attended the carnival this year, which has been a happy occasion for the vast majority of people. "However, this year's celebration has been marred by a number of isolated incidents, most notably the attack on a young man whose death is being treated as murder." Prior to the fatal stabbing, police had recorded 89 arrests at the two-day event, most of them for public order and drugs offences. Officers said two people were injured when they fell into the basement of a house after its railings collapsed during a crowd crush. Both were treated by the ambulance service at the scene and one was said to be "quite seriously injured". Another man was said to be "very seriously injured" with internal damage after apparently being attacked at about 1930 at the junction of Westbourne Grove and Kensington Park Road. Police also said one man had been stabbed and another had been glassed in the face. The main celebrations ended at 1900, the cut-off point agreed between police and organisers. All sound systems were due to shut down and the floats disperse, although police conceded that many private parties continued into the night. A massive operation is under way to clear away the debris left by people at the carnival. The Police are urging Ken Livingstone and carnival organisers to reduce the size of the Notting Hill Carnival. The assistant police commissioner Ian Johnston, said "We don't want to see the carnival stopped altogether but finishing it earlier could be considered, as many crimes do tend to happen in the hours of darkness." The murders were the first deaths since 1997. An urgent review of the beleaguered Notting Hill Carnival is to be launched, with plans to extend the route into Brent. Brent council is keen to be involved in the carnival on condition that residents approve and its own safety requirements are met. The strategy rethink follows the revelation that the Metropolitan Police was told to take a "softly, softly" approach to carnival crime for fear of sparking "violent disorder". This year's street party was marred by two murders and 19 stabbings. The plan includes an extended route into Harrow Road, Brent, and Notting Hill Gate to minimise crushes; "comfort zones" to seat up to 30,000 spectators and to prevent revellers crossing the route; and 500 stewards - 300 more than this year - to control crowds. The trust's chief executive Claire Holder said: "While we have every sympathy with the families of those killed and deplore violence, the carnival should not be stopped as it is part of culture and tradition. Even if we stopped organising it people would still turn up. "The answer is crowd management and the only way we can do that is with more stewards and a bigger route stretching into Harrow Road in Brent, giving people more room to manoeuvre. What has happened to Carnival is exactly what has happened to the M25 - we need extra lanes. We are reviewing our strategy, as we do each year, but with more urgency this time. Crowd management will feature heavily in the review. We want to make sure everything is workable." Ms Holder added: "The hysteria after this year's event does not help focus the mind on the real issues. The event has not grown out of control. The two stabbings and 267 arrests should be put into context. Carnival is still a happy affair - and the behaviour of a minority we cannot account for." Her views were backed by Assistant Commissioner Ian Johnston, who said the event should be spread out over a larger area of London and should finish before nightfall. The suggestions for a safer carnival will be aired at a residential meeting at the end of the month, which will also discuss the existing eight safety zones - quiet areas into which the police direct crowds during crushes - as well as plans for bands in Chepstow Road to help the flow of traffic from Ladbroke Grove.



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