Increased security for CARIFESTA

Barbados Today:-Barbadians and visitors are being assured that the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) will be out in full force during the upcoming Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) in order to prevent outbreaks of violence.

In the wake of a rise in gun violence, including the Kadooment Day shooting that left one person dead and at least 18 injured, lawmen have been at pains to explain that the RBPF will have things under control during CARIFESTA.

“At this time I know that there is concern about our country, in terms of incidences we have had recently, in terms of shooting incidents, but we have had incidents like this over time and the Force stands ready to continue to provide the necessary security for any persons coming to our island state, to our local citizenry and for the wider Barbados,” Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police William Yearwood said at a media briefing, as he advised not to be alarmed.   

The senior police officer said over 200 police officials would be deployed specifically for the festival, inclusive of the main venues at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, the University of the West Indies and the Barbados Community College.

Teams of six will also be present at Combermere School, The Alexandra School, The Lester Vaughan School and Christ Church Foundation Secondary School.

Police presence will also be felt at fringe events, Yearwood assured.

“I want to reassure all members of the public and those who will be visiting that our island state remains a stable environment generally and that there is no need for high fear in relation to coming to our island state. Generally, we have been managing our crime level and we are doing whatever is necessary to keep our island state stable,” he said.

“We do have from time to time spurts of crime, but the Royal Barbados Police Force has always been able to deal with them and bring stability to whatever area or wherever area,” he added, while pleading with the general public to be on their best behaviour during the festival and not do anything to hurt the island’s marketability.

Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley also pleaded for the public not to let last week’s events tarnish the country’s image.

“Barbados in my view remains a safe country. I believe that the incident that occurred on Kadooment Day . . . had nothing to do with Grand Kadooment. This was an isolated incident that then spilled over into Grand Kadooment and we shouldn’t get to the point where we will now cast Barbados into the mould of being a country that is so full of crime. That is . . . far from the truth,” he stated.