‘Grand’ plans routed

Vendors and some residents along Station Hill and Bank Hall, St Michael are not jumping for joy that Grand Kadooment revellers will not be passing their way this year.

Last Friday, president of the Barbados Association of Masqueraders Jason Thompson, at the launch of the Season of Emancipation and Crop Over 2024, announced that the traditional route from Waterford, down Station Hill and across Bank Hall will be no more.

Instead, the bands and thousands of revellers will parade from the Helipad in Bridgetown, onto Princess Alice Highway, Harbour Road, President Kennedy Drive to Eagle Hall, make a left and onto Black Rock Main Road to the Frank Worrell Roundabout and end on the Mighty Grynner Highway.

President of Empire Club in Bank Hall, Melvin ‘Ibo’ Oxley, said that even though he understands the need for change, he foresees a negative impact on the smaller-scale vendors.

“I have no problem with the change if it is in terms of it for safety, I can see that. But what I always look at is that the average man now, from Warrens, Waterford, Bank Hall, Bush Hall, is somehow going to be left out of earning an income from that little thing.

“The normal mom-and-pop that would set up sno-cones, popcorn or whatever on the corners are going to be cut down. So I would like to know if there is something that they are putting in place to help these folks to recoup a few dollars,” he told the DAILY NATION.

Each year the Empire Club sets up stalls along Bank Hall, selling food and drinks and often drawing a large crowd of visitors and locals. Oxley said the sales were a large source of funding for the sports club, and they now stand to face a huge loss because of the route change.

A frustrated Jenny Holder, who works at an upholstery store in Bank Hall next to the Palumbar bar, wanted to know why there was even a need for a move.

“I think it’s going to be very disappointing to a lot of people, seeing that it is something you come along and find for years and never had any problems, then you bring it back last year to take it down again.

“There are some people that would have already bought their items for sale, putting together things already for Crop Over, now to hear now that they got to look for space somewhere else,” she lamented.

Holder said she was one of many vendors who benefited from a surge in patrons during last year’s Grand Kadooment.

Some of the bar staff questioned why the public was not more involved in the final decision.

At Eastmond Corner, Annie, a food and drinks vendor, said she felt “real bad and sad”. She said that last Kadooment, she sold two buckets of fish cakes to patrons but is now at a loss on her next move.

Some residents in Station Hill, like “Drew”, complained that the change of route was a serious knock on their traditions.

“Then you have the vendors and people looking for an extra dollar; now we don’t know what restriction they’re going to have with stalls.

“The last time they had it by the highway wasn’t any good at all. Nobody couldn’t even watch, you couldn’t set up anything to sell, just the jumpers. You moved it, you brought it back here to Station Hill last year, which was very nice. Now they carry it back into Town. They’re killing it – next thing you know it’s going to be in St Lucy,” he said.

However, not everyone was disappointed. Tyrone Forde, who lives in Station Hill, said he approved of the new route as he found the procession of bands along the neighbourhood to be cumbersome. He said he won’t miss the sight of revellers and the sound of big trucks blasting music.

Roger Small, who owns the Tamarind Tree Bar located next to his home in Bank Hall, said he will be relieved to be spared all the hustle and bustle, and is content to spend this year as a spectator.

“Last year my sales were good but let me tell you, you got to put up a lot of work and a lot of money.”

Small said his staff were also happy with the change as they never had the chance to join a band and be part of the revelry.

“I wish them all the best. I won’t cry them down, I won’t complain, I will just support them because of all the years they have supported me by passing here,” he added.

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