New route gets thumbs-up

Some bandleaders have given the new route for this year’s Grand Kadooment parade a passing grade.

The new route was announced Friday by president of the Barbados Association of Masqueraders, Jason Thompson, during the National Cultural Foundation’s launch of the start of the Season Of Emancipation and Crop Over 2024.

Leader of Kontact Band, Anthony Layne, is one who voiced his approval of the decision, noting the areas of Bank Hall and Station Hill were often the cause of headaches for bands and bandleaders.

“The problem is that when you are on that old route – if your band is a mile long down Station Hill – when you make that right turn by Bank Hall, because the road is so narrow, your band automatically is now two to three miles long.

“You can’t service your people properly. You have to go to the sidewalk then to get drinks and snacks to the people. Then you have to contend with the people on the sidewalk now that are watching the bands . . . You have to contend with the people walking on the road, you have to contend with people walking in the opposite direction the band is going,” he said.

Bandleader of Colorz Entertainment, Bryan Worrell, said this new route had the added benefit of tighter security for the bands.

“I think it gives an opportunity for the bands to be a little more secure. There are wider roads on that route and better opportunities for security forces to secure the bands in a smaller radius that you work with, so that works for us. We have been asking for a change of route and we can try

this one and see how it goes,” he said.

Worrell said their main focus was to eliminate the challenges bands experienced last year which left many revellers partying in the dark.

“In terms of the flow, I would want the flow to go faster. We had a late start last year due to rain, then we had a broken-down vehicle and some circumstances weren’t the norm that we had to put up with last year.

“We just have to go through a lot of logistics for the new route, where trucks would line up, where we would judge, et cetera. So once we work out those things we just hope for a smoother transition through the start point and on the route.”

Veteran bandleader Betty West of the Betty West Band said while she was comfortable with the traditional route, it was important to acknowledge the problems other bandleaders were raising.

“There was a meeting, and the majority of bandleaders agreed with it, so I went with the flow. I think they were looking to solve the problems the bands have on the road. Although in 32 years I’ve never had any problems, I can’t be selfish,” she said.

West noted several security concerns raised among bandleaders, including harassment of revellers.

“The thing for me is my band members are my children and on the day I am responsible for them so I put everything in place in terms of security. I tell them how to behave although they can ‘wuk up’ to the max, but stay in the rope.

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