Government moved today to make sure its second turn at putting on Crop Over ends “without blemish” as the Prime Minister led a meeting of national security and cultural industry chiefs this afternoon to fine-tune logistics and public safety plans for the last-lap weekend.
The high-level team which also examined lessons learned from the season’s past events, included Attorney General Dale Marshall, Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith, Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force Colonel Glyne Grannum and Minister of Culture John King, Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Jerome Walcott and Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation Carol Roberts-Reifer,
They acknowledged some hiccups at last weekend’s Soca Monarch competition with congested access to the National Botanical Gardens at Waterford, leaving some patrons unsure of where to go once they had parked.
In a bid to avoid a recurrence, the high-level team has set up a park-and-ride system for the busy Waterford area, after consultations between the National Cultural Foundation and the Transport Board, Transport Authority, and public service vehicle operators, with the input of the security forces.
From Friday, patrons to the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals will be able to park at the National Stadium, Queen’s College, the NCF carpark, Wildey Gymnasium and Weymouth “B” playing field and take a bus to the event at Kensington Oval.
Following the meeting, the Prime Minister said: “These parking areas will be well lit and properly secured so patrons need not worry about their safety or the security of their property.
“I want to thank Barbadians for conducting themselves in a manner that has allowed us all to enjoy an incident-free festival so far, and we have put arrangements in place to complement that behaviour so we can make it through this long, festive weekend without blemish.”
Roberts-Reifer explained that patrons using the park-and-ride system will be charged $5 per ride, with the service starting at 6 p.m. and ending one hour after the calypso finals climax at Kensington Oval.
Given the limited parking space around the Oval, and that the Foreday Morning Jam immediately afterwards will bring thousands of revellers into the area, she said it was critical that patrons make use of the park-and-ride to avoid traffic congestion and frustration.
“As the world looks on this weekend while we are at the height of revelry, I appeal to Barbadians to also display their best behaviour,” the NCF CEO said.