Crop Over 2019 was officially launched this past weekend with the First Citizens Crop Over Launch and Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes, at Speightstown Playing Field.
Under the theme ‘Crop Over Correct’, this year’s festival aims to get the public involved in the activities by claiming ownership of the events. And part of claiming ownership would require people to take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others by always doing the
For many this festival season provides the perfect opportunity to forget the bigger worries of the current economic climate and dance one’s cares away. However, for those with a darker criminal mind, it is the perfect setting to thrive on unsuspecting party-goers. Therefore, a warning goes out to all to avoid travelling alone at night and leave expensive possessions at home when partying; for instance jewellery, technologies like tablets, and expensive smartphones. One should also be cautious at the Automatic Banking Machine (ABM) and when using cash in public.
A related concern is excessive drinking of alcohol during the festivities, which can lead individuals to quickly become dehydrated and even suffer from alcohol poisoning. More commonly though, alcohol intoxication causes people to become even more vulnerable to those looking to rob or, worse, cause others bodily harm. Females in particular are left open to sexual assaults due to lessened inhibitions or full out drunkenness.
It is no surprise then that another health risk that is prevalent around this time is the transmission of the HIV virus. With the lure of the pulsating beats, provocative dancing and free-flowing alcohol, very often revelry can lead to unsafe sex practices. As such, in addition to the constant messages disseminated via the media, the Barbados HIV/AIDS Commission will undoubtedly be out in full force at events like Foreday Morning and Grand Kadooment, distributing condoms along the route.
In this high energy atmosphere where alcohol is involved, tempers frequently rise and otherwise stable people degenerate into mindless beasts who not only put themselves in harm’s way, but also create volatile, unsafe situations for members of the general public. People are therefore encouraged to be on their best behaviour and try and avoid conflict. If any situation looks set to escalate into violence, seek early police intervention or simply walk away.
Finally, there will be many food entrepreneurs popping up at the remaining Crop Over events trying to earn some cash in these difficult times. Government requires each of these to pass inspection and have the required certification to sell. However, there may be a few who slip through the cracks. The onus therefore is on you the consumer to be vigilant and ensure that at any place you choose to purchase food, safe hygiene is being practised and food is being stored in the appropriate conditions, i.e. warmers, chillers.
These precautions outlined above are not aimed at marring the festivities, they are just some of the potential risks that must be considered amidst all the fun and excitement. It is hoped that Barbadians and tourists alike get out and enjoy at least one Crop Over event this year.