With heavy rains expected over the weekend due to the passage to the north of Barbados of Hurricane Beryl, the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) is moving full steam ahead with its slate of major Crop Over activities over the weekend.
NCF Corporate Communications Officer Simone Codrington told Barbados TODAY that while no disruptions were anticipated at this stage, the NCF would be keeping a close eye on the weather updates from the Barbados Meteorological Office.
She also explained that the NCF had contingency protocols ready just in case weather conditions deteriorated. Codrington was however not prepared to state what those contingencies were, noting only that a worst-case scenario has been contemplated.
“I am not prepared to say what those contingencies are because at the moment we are not there yet. According to the last update, the system is expected the pass north, sometime around late Sunday, and we have events going on from tonight. However, we do realize things can change so we just have to keep monitoring things,” she added.
At 8 p.m., the system was located near 10.6 degrees north or 43.8 degrees west, which is about 925 miles (1490 km) to the east of the Lesser Antilles. Beryl, which is clocking maximum sustained winds near 80 miles per hour, is moving towards the west near 15 miles per hour and based on current projections forecasters say the centre is expected to pass to the north of Barbados Sunday night or early Monday. However, any southward deviation from this projected track may require the issuance of a watch or warning for Barbados at short notice, the local met office said in an 11 a.m. bulletin on Friday.
Tonight 44 performers will grace the Kensington Oval stage for ‘Phenomenal Friday’. The stage is set and the competitors are eagerly anticipating the eight-hour battle as soca’s crème de la crème fight it out in the Party Monarch and Sweet Soca semifinals, as well as in the finals of the Yello International Bashment Soca competition.
Twelve performers will be contending for the $80,000 grand prize on the Bashment Soca stage, while 32 artistes, 16 in Sweet Soca and 16 in Party Monarch, will compete for a chance to be on the Bushy Park Soca Royale stage on July 29.
On Saturday, judging begins in the calypso tents for the Pic-O-De-Crop competition while the Junior Monarch semi-finals is slated for Sunday.
Crop Over, Barbados’ main cultural showpiece, culminates here on August 6 with Grand Kadooment. Already this year’s festival has been affected by a late start following the May 24 reneral election, with stakeholders complaining it had been more low key than usual.
And with Beryl approaching, officials today were taking no chances, with the Director of Emergency Management Kerry Hinds urging Barbadians to continue to monitor the progress of the system, take all necessary precautions and leave nothing to chance. She also gave the assurance that all the emergency response agencies were on full alert.