A minister in the Barbados Labour Party administration is describing the growing use of guns at public events as a sign of regression.
Minister of Culture and the Creative Economy John King said the rising gun violence at these events was worrying, saying it was an indication of a cultural shift.
Therefore, King told Barbados TODAY, the country needed to re-educate the population in an attempt to develop “a more enlightened society”.
“We need to start having a conversation in terms of culture. We have to start looking at culture as a way of life. So therefore, we have to start re-educating our people as to how they behave at events like these,” the minister said as the country prepares for the climax of the Crop Over festival.
“Why should we be having people scampering and running from guns? Why should we now have to put in extra security to protect revellers on the road? This is a sign of what I call a regressive society because a more enlightened society does not operate at this level,” he stressed.
The popular summer festival climaxes on Monday, August 6 with Grand Kadooment, a parade of revellers and costume bands along Spring Garden Highway.
Last year’s event was marred by a shooting, which resulted in the death of a 20-year-old man and gunshot injuries to another 20 people, including a six-year-old boy who was grazed by a bullet.
King said lawmen, backed by private security, would be on the road in their numbers this year to prevent a repeat of last year’s violence, although he was not comfortable with the message being sent out by the image of armed officials next to revellers.
“There are some things that we need to step up on and obviously security is going to be one of those things that is beefed up. In addition given what took place last year the public is demanding nothing less,” King said.
“At the moment we have to do the additional security, which tells me that there needs to be a serious conversation in Barbados about who are we, what we represent and what it is we want the rest of the world to know us as. Be that as it may the police will be out in their numbers on Spring Garden in additional to private security. We are going to take all of the measures necessary to ensure that revellers are safe,” the minister stressed.