“ON POINT: Don’t let violence take over festival”

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Like most Bajans I am concerned about the number of shootings in recent times.

And why wouldn’t I be? Around this time of year there are major crowds gathering for a number of Crop Over events, limes and fetes. As a Crop Over person, I am likely to be in the thick of things. The memory of last Kadooment Day when there were multiple shootings on Spring Garden Highway, leaving more than a dozen nursing gunshot wounds still lingers in my mind.

That incident left a bitter taste in the mouths of the crush of revellers and spectators gathered at the highway to mark the end of the festival.

So there is no doubt that the shootings currently taking place will cause some pause.

For most, the biggest worry is always about Foreday Morning but I was happy to hear the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) Manager of Administration Wayne Webster assuring the public this week that they are doing their utmost to ensure this event is the safest. Truth be told, we want to feel safe at all events. Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley alluded to the surge in gun violence recently and came up with a solution. She said she believes the Ministry of Youth Affairs has to put some substantive programmes in place that will engage young people between 14 and 22 in structured activities.

There is definitely a need for a national conversation to take place with our youth and others who are prone to violent acts. We need to get to the root of this building anger and try to channel these energies in a more positive direction.

We certainly do not want the gun toting, rock throwing hooligans and bandits spoiling what is billed and branded as the Sweetest Summer Festival.

This level of violence and gun incidents must stop. (CM)