Bridgetown was transformed into a mini Kadooment as the Republic Bank launched the crème de le crème event which closes the Crop Over festival.
Many onlookers lined Broad Street to get a glimpse of the dancers from Rhythm Tribe as well as the colourful costumes from various representatives of the local masqueraders’ community.
Included in the fun and frolic along the route from Broad Street to Independence Square was Event Producer Aja as well as General Manager, Retail, Republic Bank, Sharon Zephirin who danced along with members of the Republic Bank Broad Street branch.
In his brief remarks, Manager Administration of the National Cultural Foundation Wayne Webster said Crop Over as well as Grand Kadooment have shaped Barbados’ cultural identity.
“Historically, it has also played a crucial role in shaping our own cultural identity in a post-independence world. Fostering a move to an abandonment o decolonization of something spiced and flavoured to our own specifications, cultivating something all on our own, a unique ‘Bajan Mas’”, Webster said, adding that between 2014 and 2017, there was an increase from 24 bands to 33 registered bands.
“For those with an interest in numbers, [this] represents a 37.5 per cent increase in the number of bands over the period. This also equated to an approximate 43 per cent increase in the [number of] revellers over the same period moving from 9,470 to 13,545,” he said.
General Manager, Retail Banking Republic Bank, Sharon Zepherin said more of the costumes for Grand Kadooment should be made in Barbados thus reducing the amount of foreign exchange used for costumes.
“It is our vision to partner with an entity to resuscitate interest in costume design and production. Through this exercise, we hope to preserve and sustain the life of costume-making and the renaissance of the production of bands with many indigenous materials,” she said, adding that over time, Barbados can move away from importing costumes and create them locally.
“This initiative can do well for the creative sector, particularly in schools. Yes, we can make them right here,” she stressed.
Event Producer of Republic Bank Grand Kadooment, Adisa Aja Andwele said that in the four years that Republic Bank has been the capital sponsor, there has been an increase in the number of bands registered to participate in the biggest summer festival.
“I want to report this morning [that] in my eleven years, we have [now] broken the 30 barrier. Thirty bands have registered for Grand Kadooment. We still have to wait on the day, but we have 30 bands registered for Grand Kadooment 2018,” he said.
In a commitment to their sponsorship of the festival, the executive members of Republic Bank presented a cheque valued at $85,000 BDS to the National Cultural Foundation.