Immediately after the wrap up of Grand Kadooment earlier this week we congratulated organisers and stakeholders for a well executed festival.
It was not perfect, but we don’t know that there is anything done by man that can be consider such. Imperfection nonetheless, we believe Barbadians should be proud of those who were responsible for planning and executing the events.
Like others who had the opportunity to view the festival “close-up”, however, we hope that when the stakeholders meet they will resist the urge to get involved in excessive back-patting and pay attention to the matters that can lead to an even better experience for all in 2014.
At this stage though, we wish to specifically single out the high command as well as the rank and file of the Royal Barbados Police Force for a job well done throughout the festival. We took particular note of what appeared to be more relaxed officers policing the events.
We are in no position to say if this was a reflection of those who were assigned to Crop-Over duties, if the men and women of the force were generally less tense all around, or if there was superior briefing or some other key factors that prevailed — but the end result was greatly appreciated.
The police force is also to be commended for ensuring that at the major events there was always a more than adequate number of uniformed officers around, and this no doubt served to give patrons a sense of security and comfort. We have not forgotten, for example, those days when pushing and general rowdyism characterised entry into the National Stadium and the fall-off in patronage as a result.
We are also mindful that given the type of crimes and criminals with which our lawmen must deal daily, we have long passed the days when a baton was enough protection while on patrol. It would appear that in today’s Barbados the service weapon is now as standard as a policeman’s belt.
However, we again take heart from what appeared to be a deliberate decision by those in charge to minimise the number of visible weapons issued to officers patrolling within huge crowds during the major events — instead providing comfort for patrons with their heightened presence.
On the other hand, the strategic placement of the RBPF’s tactical force, the Special Services Unit, backed up by soldiers of the Barbados Defence Force at events such as Soca Royale at Bushy Park and Spring Garden on Kadooment Day, helped to assure patrons that those responsible for security were prepared and ready to deal with any eventuality.
They provided reassurance without being obtrusive — a situation which we believe is important when we are marketing a festival for its tourism value.
Apart from the actual physical presence of law enforcers, we took note of the positive impact of public relations on the security outcome, particularly on Kadooment Day. The force’s spokesmen made it clear in advance there would be no breaks for anyone who intruded into any band — that every case would result in arrest.
The result this year showed the difference being definitive can make, for we heard of no case where an arrest was necessary. In the past the message was not nearly as emphatic and intrusions continued.
It is the combination of these factors that leads us to conclude that the Royal Barbados Police Force is deserving of our praises. We say therefore to all those who had anything to do with security during Crop-Over 2013: Take a bow! You have earned it.