Culture Minister Stephen Lashley takes part in Grand Kadooment on Monday.
Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, on Monday issued a plea to all Barbadians to work to keep the Crop Over Festival safe from acts of senseless violence.
Lashley spoke to the media as the last band made their way through the National Stadium as the Grand Kadooment festivities were coming to a close. His plea came just hours before a shooting incident on the Spring Garden Highway where one young man was shot and killed while many others were injured in the exchange of bullets.
Lashley said they will always be those who will seek to take advantage of the fun and revelry and use it an opportunity to engage in acts of violence against others.
“There will always be unruly elements and my word to them is that there is no place for them in this festival or anything else and I think that the approach taken by the security services ought to send a signal – zero tolerance.”
He noted law enforcement has and will continue to take securing of the Crop Over Festival “seriously” and he assured that those perpetrating violent acts will be brought to justice.
“This is a festival to come out and enjoy yourself, not to come out and use violence as a means of intimidation. I hope that those persons responsible will now see that this festival is bigger than them and they should be assured that once they commit offenses they will see the full brunt of the law.”
Lashley added, if the Crop Over Festival is to continue to attract visitors from outside of Barbados, everyone must play a part in keeping it a safe and enjoyable event.
“I believe that this festival has grown, we have an obligation to keep it safe. It is not only a festival for Barbadians but it is also an international festival and our very reputation depends on how we manage it.”
He also said he is of the view, despite the negatives which may put a damper on the Festival, he believes that Crop Over 2018 will be “bigger and better”.