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Banning J'Ouvert not an option: mayor

The city can do more to safeguard participants and spectators, the mayor says.
The West Indian Day parade attracts an estimated 250,000 people.Creative Commons

J’Ouvert will return.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that although the city would consider every option in dealing with the violence that has plagued the annual celebration of Caribbean culture, canceling the event is off the table.

“J'Ouvert will continue, he said. “It's an event that is very important to the community and about a quarter million people came. But we are going to look at every conceivable way to make it safer.”

The mayor pointed out that the increased police presence kept participants and spectators safe at the West Indian Day parade, which follows J’Ouvert.


“Not many years ago in this town, the parade was very problematic,” he said. “(The) NYPD systematically figured out over years how to change that.”

Two people were shot and killed during this year’s J’Ouvert festivities, despite what the mayor had called “extraordinary” measures to protect the revelers. Officers on Tuesday arrested a suspect in one of the killings.

Last year, a stray bullet fired by warring street gangs killed an administrative lawyer working for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In a separate incident, a man was fatally stabbed that same night.

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