There will be zero tolerance for people who choose to disrupt Crop Over events, said Attorney General Dale Marshall from the floor of Parliament on Tuesday.
Marshall was tabling the now Supreme Court of Judicature (Amendment) Act 2023 when he sought to address an issue that has cropped up in this year’s Festival – security and unruly behaviour at some events.
Acknowledging the well-publicised storming of Powda, he declared to loud banging on the tables from members: “Let me say that we will have zero tolerance for anybody or any group of people who believe that they can disrupt the Barbadian way of life, whether it has to do with feting or whether it has to do with going to church.
“Individuals save for Crop Over, sometimes in ways that they don’t save for many things. Individuals invest in Crop Over, it is the occasion of their release, perhaps. It is an important festival for Barbados, it is an important occasion for the individuals who choose to participate in it. We have families whose livelihoods depend on a successful Crop Over.
“How dare a bunch of hooligans believe that it is right for them to disturb the merriment of individuals who come out just to party in an environment of peace and safety?”
The Attorney General said that those who disrupted the foreday event had not gotten away it and he sent a message to them and others with similar thoughts.
“The fools who saw it and may feel like they want to try it at the next fete have another think coming. The Police Service of Barbados is on its guard.”
Police will soon be holding the annual media briefing on the plan for Crop Over, Marshall said, they would be supporting both the private and national events.
“I have had my briefing with the Commissioner (of Police) and I can assure those individuals who want nothing more than to have an enjoyable season and those who somehow feel like they can come and disrupt it that the members of the Police Service are on their guard. They will be using every element of modern technology that is available. This is not something that we can or want to tolerate.”
The Attorney General said this type of behavior was a clarion call for everyone in society to address the increase in deviance, likening it to the broken window syndrome in criminology which states that visible signs of crime, anti-social behaviour and civil disorder create an environment that encourage further crime and disorder, including serious crimes.
Marshall announced that the Police Service and the National Cultural Foundation would be meeting with event organisers to discuss with them the importance of ramping up their security, factoring in location and the size of the event.
“Promoters, I am calling on you to do all that is required to ensure the safety of your patrons. The Barbados Police Service, buttressed by the efforts, and staff of the Barbados Defence Force, buttressed by today’s technology, will be doing our part, but it is your event. You are the person who will have all to gain and all to lose so it is important that you put the appropriate security in place,” Marshall added. (JC)
Full coverage of today’s Sitting of the House of Assembly in Wednesday’s Midweek Nation.