By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn, Weds. July 27, 2016: While many including in the media have confused the Brooklyn, NY J’Ouvert Caribbean festival with the Labor Day West Indian American Day Carnival, the Brooklyn Borough President’s office and the NYPD left no doubt Tuesday that they are well aware of the distinctions.
Joining hands with the festival’s organizer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner William J. Bratton, and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Community Affairs Unit Commissioner Marco Carrión unveiled #WeAreJOuvert, a campaign comprised of public safety and community outreach efforts that will be undertaken by a coalition of local stakeholders in advance of the festival in Brooklyn this Labor Day Weekend, September 2016.
J’ouvert, (pronounced Jou-vay), is a large ole’ mas street party held at dawn before the annual West Indian Labor Day carnival each year. The event is not run by organizers of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association but by J’Ouvert City International headed by President Yvette Rennie.
During a press conference at Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights Tuesday, Rennie joined city officials in urging all gangs to ‘put down the guns’ in order that “keepers of a culture that is grounded in artistic expression and national pride” can continue to celebrate in a safe environment.
Their commitment comes almost a year after the shocking murder of Carey Gabay, a Harvard-trained attorney and former staffer for Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the festival.
Brooklyn Borough President Adams on Tuesday said it ultimately takes a group effort to put a stop to such violence.
“Making J’Ouvert safe is not a police job only. That is so important,” he said. “We must coordinate with the police and local organizations to have a coordinated effort the entire weekend that we celebrate the Caribbean culture.”
For the first time, the festival’s organizer, J’Ouvert City International, have obtained a permit from the NYPD, meaning its plans and operations have been approved by the police.
As such, the NYPD will roll out 200 light towers around the festival area, officials said Tuesday, compared to 40 last year. Officers will also position squad cars with their lights on around the neighborhood to make the NYPD’s presence known.
Gabay, 43, was caught in the crossfire of a gang gunfight and died from a single gunshot wound to his head.
Four men have since been indicted in the death of Gabay. All are believed to be members of Folk Nation and 8-Trey Crips, a pair of Brooklyn street gangs that worked together in cornering the marijuana and heroin trade at various housing complexes across the borough before eventually turning on each other.