The man regarded as the driving force behind the ban on drums at the Barbados Secondary School Athletic Championship (BSSAC) now says he supports an end to it.
This morning, former head of the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools (BAPPSS), Jeff Broomes, said the decision by the association to lift the ban after ten years has his blessing. He claimed that he “just happened to be the president of the principals association” when it was implemented, but it was a unanimous decision.
“I have no difficulty with lifting it once the behaviour can be controlled. I have no problem at all with it because it is a cultural thing. But back then we decided that what was going on with the schoolchildren was not appropriate,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Broomes contended that part of the reason the ban lasted as long as it did was because there were no serious calls over the years for its removal.
“Initially, it was the behaviour of the children, then we had some issues with the [National Stadium], but I don’t think that people really gave much thought to it. The issue of drums at the sports had not become a serious issue for a long time. Certainly, in my case, I heard nobody putting any pressure on me when I was president or after,” he said.
However, almost every year since the ban was instituted in 2009, there have been calls for it to be lifted as concerns remained about dwindling attendance.
In 2015, Broome seemingly felt compelled to defend his position against critics who charged that the absence of the drums had put a damper on energy levels at BSSAC.
He wrote in another section of the Press at the time: “I thought the decision to ban drums was the correct one then, and I still think so now. I see children from all schools having good healthy fun in the stands and giving support to the important persons involved in the activity—the athletes. Let’s focus on their training and preparation, their nutrition and rest and their focus and execution.”
On the heels of reports that the reintroduction of drums will be done in an organized manner and schools will pre-select students to play the instruments, Broomes told Barbados TODAY he was not sure if today’s schoolchildren were more responsible than those ten years ago, but he did not want to second-guess his former colleagues in their decision.
“I don’t know if the standard of behaviour has changed but I would like to think that the principals believe that and are convinced of this. I have not gone to the stadium, so I don’t know. If the principals in their judgement believe it to be so, then I support them.
“However, they must also be sure that they can control students in the back of the stands because I remember very well what happened back then, not only in the stands but going through the road at Bush Hall, and it was a disgrace,” Broomes said.