In response to bandleaders calls for Defence Force soldiers to take part in security arrangements and for tighter security generally on the road. The President of the Barbados Police Association Station Sargeant Hartley Reid, launched a broadside on the bandleaders and their requests.
Speaking yesterday at a Press conference at police headquarters, James Street, president Hartley Reid said he was “extremely peeved” that the force’s “herculean efforts” had gone unnoticed during the just ended
Crop-Over season. Furthermore, he said some individuals had instead sought to blow some issues “way out of proportion”.
His comments were in response to a threat made by band leaders earlier this week to boycott the season next year if their demands for greater police presence on the road were not met. But Reid declared BAM’s outlook
of “doom and gloom” was “unfounded and irrational” and emphasised that the force “would not be dictated to by any reveller or their band leader”.
Sargeant Reid’s outright dismissal of the Band leaders’ issues, is one more instance of an arrogant high handed attitude by an officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force. Further the Sargeant’s single minded refusal to see beyond the concerns of the constabulary was stunning.
Addressing a charge by Amanda Forde, leader of the band Radikal, that some bands were assigned one officer while others had none, Reid countered: “If they had one, they had one too many! We are not paid to escort bands.
They had some bands with as many as 1 600 people; our force is only 1 400.” We are paid to police this whole country; we are the principal for law and order, from Crab Hill,St Lucy, to Bottom Bay in St. Philip and that is what we will continue to do.”
We’ll leave aside the implied admission that the RBPF is incapable of enforcing order on the Kadooment route for the moment. The mere fact that the band members can honestly make their complaint is an indication that the security situation on the road was not up to par.
Kadooment and Crop Over is a NATIONAL festival. Apart from the cultural aspects of it, there is significant economic activity and significant foreign exchange that flows into the country because of it. Poor security on road jeopardizes the future of the festival, as if people do not feel safe they simply will not take part, they will stay away in droves. there would be a measurable impact on the economy.
Not that this bothers Sargeant Reid….
In fact the goodly Sargeant seems blissfully unbothered by the prospect of the festival being affected….
We can only hope that those further up the chain of command have a better view of the big picture on this.