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Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Levi Roots has slammed calls to move the Notting Hill Carnival to another site in London in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.
The chef and musician first began selling his famed Reggae Reggae Sauce at the west London carnival in the early 90s and in recent years has sponsored the event.
He said the devastating June 14 blaze is being used as “an excuse” to resurrect calls to move the carnival.
Roots went on to accuse Greg Hands, the Tory minister for London and MP of nearby Chelsea and Fulham constituency, of wanting to stop it because it is “controlled by Caribbean people”.
Earlier this month Mayor of London Sadiq Khan rejected a request by Mr Hands to consider moving the location because of its close proximity to Grenfell Tower.
Roots said: “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 London 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.”
Roots 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.”
The Jamaican-born businessman, 59, was speaking as he promoted a new compilation album of some of his favourite reggae hits.
The record features tracks from Bob Marley, Maxi Priest and Shaggy as well as two tracks by Roots who credits his business success to the song he performed on the BBC show in 2006.
The Mobo-nominated musician said: “Music has always been the greatest part of my life especially when people saw me on Dragons’ Den all those years ago.”
“It was the music that brought the attention I think I would have come a cropper if I didn’t have the guitar.”
Additional reporting by Press Association.
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