The organizers of Puff of Colour (POC) remained adamant today that an early morning brawl on Sunday, which left the managers of Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens fuming, would not force them to change the venue for the popular soca rave.
In fact, even as he condemned those involved in the fracas, and apologized for the damage caused, spokesman for the organizers Wayne Simmons made it clear at a news conference today that the paint, powder and water event was going nowhere.
Simmons said the promoters did all they could to provide adequate security, including engaging the services of the Royal Barbados Police Force and qualified private security officers.
He also pointed to the fact that the disturbance took place after the event, and there were no incidents during the six-hour show.
“Within the actual venue where the event itself was held there were no reports of disorder brought to our attention,” he said.
President of Coral Ridge Group Peter Griffith yesterday called for POC to be moved after several patrons who had left the fete early Sunday morning, took their fracas to the cemetery and left behind a “significant” amount in damage.
Several videos which later surfaced on social media showed a number of young men hurling rocks and metal objects while trampling graves. Griffith said the rowdy group uprooted burial ground markers and used them as weapons.
An apologetic Simmons today extended “our deepest regret to the families of those who were affected by the lawless behaviour of a few attendees of this year’s event”.
“We do not condone the actions of those individuals who, after leaving the venue, trespassed onto private property, and by all reports conducted themselves in a disgraceful manner,” he stressed, while calling on anyone with information about the perpetrators to contact the police “as it crucial that the perpetrators are brought to justice, sending a strong message that such behaviours will not be tolerated”.
“The current social climate demonstrates that lawlessness does not discriminate and Barbados, as well as the entertainment industry as a whole, cannot afford a bad reputation because of the actions of a few,” the spokesman said.
Stating that the promoters were “appalled and shaken” by the images on social media because “members of this team have also loved ones interred at Coral Ridge Gardens”, Simmons said they had reached out to the management of the 26-acre burial ground, although he did not disclose details of the talks.
Griffith today confirmed that the POC organizers had contacted him to request a meeting, but he said nothing hadbeen mentioned about payment for the damage, now estimated at over $10,000.
He told Barbados TODAY he was looking forward to the meeting, but continued to insist that the event must find a new location.