Levi Roots has hit out at proposals to move the Notting Hill Carnival in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire .
The BBC's Dragons’ Den success story said the suggestion by Greg Hands , the Minister for London as well as Chelsea and Fulham MP, was another attempt to stop the festival because it is “controlled by Caribbean people”.
Mr Hands wrote to London Mayor Sadiq Khan earlier this month suggesting it be inappropriate to stage the annual event “in the near proximity of a major national disaster”.
However, the suggestion was rejected by Mr Khan, who said this year’s event should be used to commemorate the devastating fire at Grenfell.
Now chef and musician Mr Roots, who first began selling his famed Reggae Reggae Sauce at the carnival in the early 90s and sponsored the event in recent years, has also had his say.
He told Press Association: “It’s not the first time, it’s always been under threat, it’s just another excuse.
“A few years ago they were talking about putting it in Hyde Park and it’s always this reason to try and stop it because it’s a Caribbean festival controlled by Caribbean people.”
The call to move the event prompted an angry response from some quarters, including Chelsea-based rapper Stormzy , who called Mr Hands a “scumbag” for making the suggestion.
He tweeted: “Look at this scumbag tryna using the Grenfell tragedy for their ‘get rid of carnival’ agenda. We ain’t buying it mate.”
Mr Roots, 59, said: “You cannot have a million people in one place and you don’t get trouble in there.
“I cannot understand why they are expecting this to be the squeakiest clean no-violence event. It’s absolutely impossible.”
In his letter, Mr Hands said: “We have to ask ourselves if it is appropriate to stage a carnival in the near proximity of a major national disaster.”
But the Mayor responded: “The Notting Hill Carnival is one of the world’s biggest street festivals and has become a firm London tradition over many decades.
“It was born out of the African-Caribbean immigrant community in North Kensington and Notting Hill in the 1950s, and it’s only right that this remains its home.
“Any attempt to impose a move to another location on the carnival, particularly at a time when the community has little trust in those in positions of authority, would be a mistake."
He went on to say: “It is only right that this year’s carnival marks the terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower and the Mayor will work closely with the organisers and the wider community to ensure they are consulted and involved in the planning for an appropriate commemoration.”
The organiser of the carnival had previously said the disaster at Grenfell would cast a dark shadow over this year’s event.
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