The Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) spokesman on crime is urging Barbadians not to “cower to threats from the criminal elements within society” and to play their part in helping police “win back our streets and communities” from criminals.
With Barbadians preparing for the last lap of Crop Over, Shadow Attorney General Dale Marshall Thursday raised concern about threats to the festival circulating on social media.
Law enforcement officials have promised to step up security at all events in light of these threats, including a video which surfaced on social media last Wednesday threatening harm to members of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF).
The video emerged 24 hours after residents of Deacons Farm, St Michael were confronted in the dead of night with the sound of gunfire.
While there were no injuries reported after the incident, several power lines were affected and sections of the community were thrown into deeper darkness.
Marshall, a former Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, said the BLP was aware of the disturbing video, as well as statements circulating suggesting outbreaks of violence during the climax of festivities this weekend.
He said in a statement that whether or not the threats were serious, Barbadians should be on alert, even as he advised everyone to keep calm.
“We don’t want Barbadians to become alarmed, because we have no knowledge whether the video and statements are a hoax or not. Given the technology readily available, just about anything can be produced and easily disseminated via social media. However, there is that possibility that we have to guard ourselves against.
“If it is a hoax, it demonstrates the level of depravity some people are willing to sink to. Because in an already tense environment where the daily reports of gun related violence have citizens feeling as if they are under siege, such a threat only contributes further to making Barbadians anxious and fearful,” he said, while stressing that if the threats were serious, they underscored the dangerous state which Barbados had reached.
Marshall stressed that increased violent crime benefited no one, describing it as a “a scourge that has to be eliminated for the safety and peace of mind of all Barbadians regardless of their partisan perspective.
“We must work together to win back our streets and our communities from the growing criminal elements. The Barbados Labour Party fully supports the efforts of the Royal Barbados Police Force to ensure a safe environment for Barbadians and visitors this weekend at the several events planned, and we know that they will be doing their very best in that regard.
“However, we too have a role to play, and we urge all those attending the last lap Crop Over events to be vigilant and on their guard as they participate in the festivities. We encourage everyone to enjoy the final events of this year’s Crop Over to the fullest. But we urge you to be responsible in your behaviour. Don’t imbibe and drive, resist any provocation to become violent, and be your brother’s keeper,” the opposition spokesman said.
Earlier this week, Public Relations Officer of the RBPF Acting Inspector Roland Cobbler told Barbados TODAY lawmen and soldiers would be out in force at various Crop Over events in the waning days of the festival, as lawmen seek to prevent any major disturbances.
He also revealed that a no tolerance approach towards any form of disruptive behaviour would be adopted through to the end of Kadooment Day on Monday.
He said the Force would employ a strategy similar to the one employed at the just concluded Soca Royale at Bushy Park, where there was a noticeable police and military presence both inside and outside the venue.
No incidents were reported during the event.
Cobbler stressed that a clear message was being sent to potential mischief-makers that law enforcement officials would not tolerate any form of violence.