Concerned about the seemingly rising levels of crime and disunity across the island, one local group has introduced a new festival to help bring about a positive change.
The Annu Institute for Human Development held its inaugural African Diaspora First Fruit Festival at the Queen’s Park location this Easter.
Managing director of the institute and coordinator of the two-day event, Qaasen Ricardo Sealy, said the festival was designed to among other things, encourage more unity across communities.
“In Barbados one time we used to be a very moral people. Things have changed where the Western culture is upon us. So we are hoping that we can set the tone for a festival that can uplift people,” he said.
A consultation was held on Sunday night with the aim of identifying issues facing different communities and coming up with possible solutions.
Throughout the day on Monday a number of vendors displayed and sold various items ranging from art and craft and food, face painting and hair designs. Patrons were also treated to various information sessions on managing stress and other emotions. They were also treated to entertainment.
Sealy said the crime situation in Barbados was one of concern and needed to be addressed at every level of the society.
“We want to resurrect that moral conscience within people that tells them when they do something wrong…we want to reform the people and for them to resurrect that divinity within themselves,” said Sealy.
” I started this because I want to see love back in the communities. I want to see people helping each other. I don’t want to see people getting their throat cut, stab up, kidnapped,” he said, adding that he was hoping to expand the festival over the coming years with participants from the US, Africa, Canada and other countries.
“We need to give people knowledge that empower them…so that we can live better. We really need to stop the violence and the crime. It is crazy. It is nonsense,” said Sealy.
He called for more censorship of what children were allowed to watch and listen.
“One of the things we have to really do is monitor what the children read, look at and listen to. For example, the video games are very violent… The movies we are watching are the same thing and the music we listen to on the radio are about violence again,” he said.
He also suggested that more should be done in schools to bring more awareness to the pitfalls of violence.
“The home has lost influence on the child. The influence now is the peer groups. The peer pressure is taking the place of the parents,” he said, adding that people also needed to learn how to better manage their emotions.