One Grand Kadooment band will be keeping an eye on revellers from above by employing a drone to improve security.
The every move of those jumping as part of Erup The Band will be monitored and recorded, as will that of those planning mischief.
General Manager Brian Layne told Barbados Today his band intended to beef up security in light of last year’s deadly shooting which marred the Crop Over finale.
This, Layne said, would include the use of the drone to capture and monitor what is happenings during the five-kilometre jump from the National Stadium to Spring Garden Highway.
“The drone would be flying over just to watch and ensure that persons are having a good time . . . .[It] would capture if anybody did anything to a masquerader,” Layne said.
He disclosed that the band, which caters to between 400 and 450 revellers, would have extensive security and emergency personnel on hand in the event there is a serious incident. Mesh will also be used to fence in masqueraders, instead of the usual rope.
“Once they are inside the mesh we can keep them safe but once they are outside of the mesh then it is really at them,” Layne said, while adding that the band was finalizing preparations with the authorities.
Although last year’s shooting occurred at the end the Grand Kadooment jump up, it left a bitter taste in the mouth of the public. Twenty-year-old Taried Junior Rock of 3rd Avenue, Chapman Lane, St Michael, was killed and 20 others were injured, including a six-year-old boy who was grazed by a bullet.
Layne confirmed that while some of his revellers were alarmed by the violence, most masqueraders were not deterred, as they believe the country and Crop Over were safe.
“Most persons who jumped would not have experienced it, they just heard about it. It may impact the persons who wanted to come and jump but for the majority . . . Barbados is fully safe,” Layne told Barbados TODAY.
Meanwhile, the Barbados Masqueraders Association (BAM) has continued its call for soldiers to be assigned to help beef up security at the event.
Ooutraje bandleader and BAM floor member Trevor Chase argued that despite the best efforts of bandleaders to hire the best security, the Barbadian public only respected law enforcement officials.
“You will take all the precautions . . . but the security detail that the people pay attention to is the police that wear blue, the task force personnel and the army,” Chase stressed.
“We will take all the precautions that we possibly can but people will respect the uniform more than anybody that is holding a rope,” he added, while urging Government to take note of the strict security detail at Trinidad’s carnival.
BAM President Chetwyn Stewart disclosed that the association was in talks with the Minister of the Creative Economy, Culture and Sports John King to increase the military presence at the Crop Over main event. He indicated that the Grand Kadooment experience was more pleasurable and much safer when there was intensified police and military presence.
A week ago, Deputy Commissioner of Police Erwin Boyce said the Force was 230 officers short of a full complement, but he assured the public that despite the challenges the Royal Barbados Police Force would have enough members deployed for the Crop Over season.
Public Relations Officer Acting Inspector Rodney Inniss told Barbados TODAY the authorities were still finalizing security plans. However, he assured the public that the police “will continue to plan meticulously to keep them safe” this Crop Over.