EDITORIAL: Security concerns during Crop Over
DUE to a recent upsurge in cases of gun-related violence, numerous Barbadians have expressed concern about incidents that could possibly surface and ruin the climax of this year’s Crop Over Festival.
As Barbadians continue to witness this island becoming more and more like the Wild West, there is a growing concern that more lives could be lost with the casual and carefree pulling of a trigger by some gun-toting youngster. Given the information circulating about the possible threat to life and limb at certain Crop Over events in the past and a threatening video on social media of late, directed at members of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF), there has been much speculation about safety and security at public events and some Barbadians have even gone as far as to stay away from certain events.
However, the Royal Barbados Police Force must be commended for not being intimidated and for stepping up to the plate to ensure that security was tight for this year’s Crop Over Festival. The Force has done its best to ensure that the festival events were safe for patrons and visitors alike. From all reports, members of the RBPF as well as the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) were out in full force at various Crop Over events in the remaining days of the festival, in an effort to prevent any major disturbances. As such, there were robust security plans in effect for Foreday Morning and Grand Kadooment, as the force adopted a “zero tolerance” policy for disorderly conduct and criminal activity. We really must tip our hats to our law enforcement officials for the tough job they do in trying to keep this country safe and a civilised place to live and exist.
That said, we need to now work on our laws to ensure that a message is sent that firearm-related crime is a serious matter. Exposure to gun violence is another matter that needs to be addressed as we are not sure how many children and youth have witnessed such and what the effects will be for them as they progress in life. Reports are that the topic of gun violence will come to the fore as the Democratic Labour Party holds its annual conference a bit later this month.
Perhaps however, we may need a national consultation to tackle the issue of gun violence as well. It is hoped, however, that something tangible will come of this event that can really address the problem.
It is also time that parents have a firm talk with their children and try to get help for those they can clearly see are going down the wrong path. It is no use burying your head in the sand and pretending that you cannot see that someone you helped to raise, is heading for trouble. Perhaps relatives can band together and make an intervention early on, rather than waiting until the horse bolts from the stable to try to address the matter. We also need more citizens to work with Crime Stoppers to help to arrest gun violence in this country.
Barbados must be a safe place in which to live and do business and visitors to the island must also feel safe and secure while vacationing here. So it is high time we tackle our safety and security issues head on, so that we indeed preserve what is left of our little paradise.