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Calls to return to old Grand Kadooment route

Jonteau Coppin

Calls to return to old Grand Kadooment route
Black Rock Main Road was quiet on Grand Kadooment Day. (Picture by Reco Moore)

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People and vendors along the old Grand Kadooment route are against the change for 2022 and are hopeful it is only a temporary measure.

Traditionally, the Crop Over season’s grand finale takes place from Waterford, St Michael to the Mighty Grynner Highway (formerly known as the Spring Garden Highway).

However, after a two-year break for COVID-19, revellers made the trek from Warrens to the National Botanical Gardens via the ABC Highway, turning at the JTC Ramsay (Bussa) Roundabout.

Some told Nation News the festival had moved away from its roots.

Calls to return to old Grand Kadooment route
Seitu Wickham (Reco Moore)

Seitu Wickham, a well-known cobbler in Eagle Hall said: “This is the route that originally everything started out from, so it has a cultural and a grassroots feeling. In my opinion, I think we should bring back this route again because people get their livelihoods out of this and they understand that Crop Over has a camaraderie around it. People on the route could come out, have fun and find themselves employed in the Crop Over season.”

Another vendor, Garfield Ifill, said while change was welcomed, especially given the extenuating circumstances like COVID-19, it would be bad for his business if the change was permanent.

“This is my first time being here in Black Rock and business wise it’s not good because I made rum punch to sell and the people are on the other side of the island. I wouldn’t even want to start to hear that (talk about a permanent change from the traditional route). This is what people are accustomed to. Change is alright but permanently? Nah”.

Sections of the road from Eagle Hall to Black Rock and along the Mighty Grynner Highway were devoid of both people and traffic on the public holiday. This was in stark contrast to previous years when people – revelers and spectators – lined the route, culminating at Brandons, often followed by a refreshing sea bath.

Black Rock resident Jeeny Walker said the spectacle was greatly missed, especially its ability to bring the community together with the vibrant colours, music and food.

“I am accustomed to coming out onto the main road, liming and drinking a couple of beers so the fact that I cannot do that has affected me tremendously.”

Another resident of Black Rock Main Road who did not give her name, said she did not like the new route and felt like it had been moved from its spiritual home.

Last month, president of the Barbados Association of Masqueraders Anthony Layne said that they were satisfied with the infrastructure and resources that will be set up for the new Grand Kadooment route along Warrens to Waterford St Michael route. He believes the new route has potential.

“I think it (new route) lends itself to development. Personally I don’t think the old route can be developed anymore. We love the Spring Garden finish but I am quite satisfied with the new route. It needs to be given a chance and at the end of the day we will see it is a good route.”

No decision has been made on what the route will be next year.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said: “I see this (Grand Kadooment Day) as a bridge to next year. We outside. We needed to give Bajans the opportunity to come outside but when we have a full year to plan again we will come back to what we know and what we are good at.” (JC)