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Plea for peace

NATANGA SMITH, [email protected]

Plea for peace

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Keep Crop Over peaceful this year. Recently appointed Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports John King made the plea during Saturday’s official launch of the festival at the First Citizens Crop Over Xplosion at the King George V Memorial Park, St Philip.

“Today holds a great significance to me personally as someone who loves culture and to you who patronise the festival. I want you all to be ambassadors and let us have a peaceful festival,” said King, a former calypso monarch.

These sentiments were echoed by chief executive officer of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), Cranston Browne, who told the crowd that “the world is watching” and urged them to be on their best behaviour.

The police have already indicated that security will be a priority.

“For your personal safety, avoid wearing jewellery that attracts attention; avoid flashing large sums of cash and leaving valuables in your vehicles. You ought to park in well-lit areas when attending events at night. Move in groups in unfamiliar territories,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police Oral Williams at the recent Crop Over In The City.

“The Royal Barbados Police Force, like you, is desirous of having a safe, exciting and successful festival. The members of the force will be out in their numbers ensuring that all this happens. We are unable to do so on our own and want your full support and cooperation to reach that goal.”

The 2017 Crop Over Festival ended on a violent note as 20-year-old Taried Rock of Chapman Lane, The City, was shot and killed on the Spring Garden Highway on the fringes of Grand Kadooment.

Eighteen people, including a six-year-old boy, suffered gunshot injuries during that incident and several people have subsequently been arrested and face a number of charges.

Yesterday’s rescheduled opening had a huge crowd that saw stakeholders, honourees, sponsors and vendors listening attentively to Browne as he touted the old merging with the new.

“Crop Over is never stagnant but always growing. It was strategic to once again use this location as it is a way to decentralise and spread the festival activities across rural communities.

“The rebranded Crop Over Xplosion approach is the NCF’s way of drafting new stories and embracing new traditions.”

The CEO stressed on the importance of preserving cultural memories and continue to build on the “unique Crop Over brand.”

He pointed to the honouring of the two sugar workers Neville Cato and Ernesta Williams and the four stalwarts, Callender, Chris Williams, Patrick Newton and posthumously Hubert Brathwaite for their contributions to the festival and he also urged the crowd to patronise the various events during the season.

Meantime, the NCF can continue to count on First Citizens Bank as the title sponsor for Crop Over Xplosion.

With this being their fourth year as sponsor, the entity has signed on for two more years, said CEO Carole Jn Marie.

She said the bank’s vision of corporate and social responsibility aligned with those of the NCF and they were proud to be a part of the cultural celebrations. (NS)