Thursday 4 August 2011

Biggest Enemy of the truth about Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival? Wikipedia


Bad enough that the police killed someone at the festival, but a posting on Wikepedia is making it worse for the embattered organizers of the popular event!
Wikepedia had a page that lists all the criminal events that have occurred over the past 25-years. It is a shocking list. Shootings. Stabbings. Drugs. And the media have lapped it up. Without citing where they got the information, the Wall of Shame list has been quoted on CBC National News, in the Toronto Star, the Sun, CTV's website, John Oakley's show on AM640, John Tory and the Festival's biggest/loudest critic Chicago resident Jerry Agar on CFRB. (we have since edited the list)
The crime list, at least those for the past 15-years, is accurate. Many of them occurred when I was working for the parade. All of the victims and perps are black and all of the events happened during the summer. Problem is, none of the crimes took place at any official Caribana event!
Media should know better. While the Wikepedia Page looked incredible reliable, complete with footnotes, when you actually review the details of the news items, you see that the crimes had nothing to do with the festival. Sloppy posting or subtle racism?
Don't know. But I am finding that members of the media don't like to admit they have borrowed (with credit or research) from blind Wikepedia postings. Very slow going. Below is a letter that was sent to our former media partner, and my sometime story buyer, the Toronto Sun.

Dear Sun, your list of Caribana's past problems seems to have been lifted from an inaccurate Wikepedia posting. No worries, the Star did it too ... 24 hours before the Sun story came out.
Love or hate the festival, I feel you should deal from facts rather than from a website that is known for its errors. Let’s look at three of the items you took from Wikepedia. Since I was working for Caribana at the time of three of the incidents, I am writing out of direct knowledge.

July 31 2005- Dwayne Taylor. The murder victim, according to your competitor, The Toronto Star, was killed at 4.30 in the morning, at Dundas Square. He was, as reported in that paper as " a gun-toting drug dealer, who felt he needed a loaded firearm to protect himself against other gang members who might be armed". The Caribana Parade that year had ended at 6pm on July 30th. The shooting occurred 10-hours later and a long long way away from Lakeshore. I followed the court trial and there were no indications that that Mr. Taylor had attended the Caribana parade that year or any other year. He was in the middle of a flash street party (that was neither organized and/or sponsored by any known group in the city) that had sprung up in the downtown core.
There was violence in the Square and many other places including, as I remember, right in front of police headquarters. At the time I complained to the Sun because the Caribana name was being used not because of the location of the shooting or the festival participation of the killer but because the shooter was black and it was the weekend when the Parade ran.
As I pointed out then there were a number of other Caribbean events occurring in the city that weekend including free Soca programming at Harbourfront and the Jamaican music Irie Festival at Queen's Park and both festivals were actually closer to the Square then the Parade. Why wasn't it called the Harbourfront shooting? Or the Irie shooting or any other event shooting?
July 31,2003 A man is charged with criminal negligence after running a red light. He is found with drugs and a loaded weapon. Until the police stepped up street patrols in the Yonge / Dundas area, there has been a tradition of "hot cars" parading up and down Yonge Street on the Thursday and Friday evenings leading up to the Simcoe Day Weekend. Much like the Friday the 13th tradition of bikers going to the Simcoe region, the Thursday and Friday nights circling of Yonge/Dundas Street is a totally strange unorganized occurrence that has nothing to do with Caribana or any other group/event at all. Some of the participants are African Americans from the US.
Caribana had a footprint on the Square that year. 2003 was SARS and the festival had a grant to present A Taste of Caribana at the Square that summer - in a press release the event is described as: "A Taste of Caribana. There will be a ticket office, a Caribbean food court, arts, crafts, tourist information and entertainment". The entertainment (music and dance) ended in the late afternoon. The food tent was shut down at 11pm. I believe the car/gun incident occurred on the street many hours later. There was no indication that the man arrested had attended any Caribana events or was planning to. There was no evidence that he even actually got out of his car anywhere near Dundas Square. Beyond his ethnic background of the convicted man there was nothing to tie him in with our festival.
August 2, 1997 - Gary Newman is shot at point blank range and dies. I am not aware of this case, however, I did do some research. Mr. Newman was 22 and the police list his murder on their cold case list. There was never a trial, so, I can't find out why you are calling this a pre-Caribana murder in that there was no Dundas Square and the parade that year was a long distance from the murder scene. How do you know he was a pre-Caribana reveler?
Finally, the Sun talks about the young man who was thrown off the Scarborough Bluff. That particular crime took place two days after the parade and in another city (you have the location wrong). Why that makes it a Caribana killing is beyond me.