We are now on the last lap of the Crop Over Festival and so far, so good.
An incident-free climax to our main national festival would be a fittingly happy coda to a half-year filled with bullets and bloodshed.
It bears remembering that as of this first weekend of August 30 people have been murdered – 19 of them by the gun.
But we dare to hope for a peaceful riot of music and merriment, so over the past few days and with the festival drawing to a close, a plethora of fetes, parties and cruises have apparently been untouched by violence.
From all accounts, no social media videos are making the rounds of any incidents or fights, something which had seemingly become the norm earlier in the year.
Thousands of revellers are expected to hit the road for the hugely popular Foreday Morning jump-up on Saturday morning and then again on Monday morning for the biggest show of them all, Grand Kadooment.
Praise is due to the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) for its efforts to bring the crime under control, especially at such a hectic time of the year.
It is no secret that the force is severely understaffed; it has been so for years.
At a press conference just over a week ago, Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith praised hard work, thorough investigating and sound intelligence as the key contributing factors in helping police stem a worrying trend of violence.
His promise that police would be going “all-out” during Crop Over to ensure the safety of locals and visitors alike has been honoured, with two murders being committed in the last month.
He said then: “We are really going to be going all out to ensure that our visitors and our locals enjoy the Crop Over without any real hiccups.
“We have significant shortages, but we manage our resources well and that is key.
“You can only do some much.
“The important thing is to maximize the use of your resources, that is what we are doing and I think we’re doing well in that regard.”
But neither Commissioner Griffith nor his high command, officers and ranks can rest on their laurels just yet.
It was only two years ago that 23 people were shot on Spring Garden Highway [now the Mighty Grynner Highway] as the lights faded on Grand Kadooment.
The violence, apart from ripping apart families and communities, can have an especially crippling effect on our economy, and particularly on tourism at this time of the year.
Still trying to fight its way out of a recession, Barbados can ill afford any negative publicity during Crop Over.
With thousands of tourists as well as returning nationals expected home for the festival, the foreign exchange generated is critical to rebuilding the country’s economy.
It is still baffling to understand why people leave home to party with guns, knives or any other weapon in their possession.
Their reckless acts only serve to deny those party-goers out their right to have a good time, as they tend to result in the premature end to events or music being stopped for a prolonged period of time.
And violent incidents can also lead to sponsors withdrawing their support from those events. And in these tough economic times, organizers can ill afford to lose much-needed revenue.
One perfect example of this occurred after the 2017 Grand Kadooment shootings.
Days after the incident, which claimed a man’s life, Ian De Souza, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Republic Bank – the main sponsors of the event – voiced his concern.
“Apart from the suffering inflicted, I am worried about the knock-on effect that this may have on the popularity of Republic Bank Grand Kadooment – among both locals and foreign visitors – and the potential for a negative economic impact on our tourism-based economy,” he said.
Crop Over is a time for fun and festivity, merriment, music, partying and catching up with friends and family from home and abroad. It is also our colourful welcome to the world.
Long may it continue.