Notes From The Margin

August 12, 2007

With Respect Sargeant Reid… We Disagree

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”.


“There is no free policing. If the revellers and their leaders want police
to accompany them band for band along the way, they will pay.

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….

“Furthermore, if they bring no bands next year, that will be better for us.We will smile and we will stay at home and rest with our families,” the outspoken Reid stated.

In fact the goodly Sargeant seems blissfully unbothered by the prospect of the festival being affected….


He said that in the 1960s a similar carnival-like event had been curtailed because Barbadians had abused the street parades. “If they stop it, this would not be the first time. It has been done before,” he said, recalling that a woman had even been set afire in a melee back then.

We can only hope that those further up the chain of command have a better view of the big picture on this.




  1. The band leaders i presume are also business owners it is up to them to PAY for appropriate security for the revelers thAT chose their band. Kadooment is a national festival, but the issue of security for it is certainly not an issue for national security as is being said by the President of the Band Leaders Association. There are many private security firms who would gladly take PAYMENT to provide the security they are expecting to get for free. As business people they cannot honestly expect the Government to provide everything free for them, vital festival or not.

    Comment by Watcher — August 12, 2007 @ 6:45 am | Reply

  2. […] 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… …more […]

    Pingback by Barbados » Blog Archive » Far-Out Americana - U.S. News - — August 12, 2007 @ 9:33 am | Reply

  3. Watcher,

    My view is that it is necessary for the Kadooment Route to be secured, if the festival is to be successful. Yes I think that the Band Leaders have a duty to provide their own security to an extent but, they can only do so much. I think the call for the BDF’s involvement is timely. As I do not believe that the RBPF has the resources to do it on its own.

    My problem with Sgt. Reids response is that it completely dismisses the band leaders’ concerns with no acknowledgment of any validity at all. His complete unwillingness to see a larger picture is troubling.


    Comment by notesfromthemargin — August 13, 2007 @ 2:01 pm | Reply

  4. T-shirt bands were gaining in popularity, the costume bands complained, T-shirt bands where either banned or restricted to the point of them going away, Costume bands became more expensive. Not everybody can afford to pay for a costume. Can the T-Shirt bands be reintroduce to help with the so called riff raff problem? The play book here is the same that was use to dry up chicken farming and processing as a small business, leaving the two large companies, chick growers and chickmount to merge and control the market, pricing chicken up and beyond the maximum the market could bare,reaping huge profits in the process. In recent years i have not heard the Band owners complain about profits, maybe they can use some of that money to pay for security. The idea that a Policeman should be assigned to each band in a security detail arrangement is ludicrous, unless they are willing to pay for this demand. Even then i would still have concerns about police resources being use in this way by “for profit” organizations. Yes Kadooment is a national event, but the bands while being part of it are in essence a private business concern, and as such i will be weary of using a national organization such as the police as paid detail in the manner suggested.

    Comment by Adrian — August 15, 2007 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

  5. Some members of the Barbadian public are fairly hypocritical, one minute they lambasting the presence of the soldiers but when something happen they calling for more soldiers and the militant SSU on de route. I for one think that civil policing is the realm of the RBPF and soldiers should only be tasked to assist in times of crisis.

    The RBPF and BDF should maintain their presence on Kadooment Day and since they cannot be expected to be everywhere along the route, they should respond when a situation has escalated to the point that a law has been broken and an arrest needs to be made.
    While I think that Mr. Reid’s comments were too hasty and a bit emotionally driven, nevertheless it is unreasonable for Ms. Foster and other bandleaders to expect the RBPF to deploy its entire compliment to police privately owned bands along the Kadooment route. Bandleaders need to ensure that instead of maximising profits that they have adequate private security in place on Kadooment Day to nip some of this lawless behaviour in the bud.

    Instead of the threats to pull the bands in ’08 and the hot and sweaty response of Mr. Reid, both played out in the media, all interested parties should have met and attempted to come up with some strategies for combating the problem to make the festival better.

    Baje International had excellent security and had little or no incidents on the road. But this was because they had over a hundred paid private security persons.

    Dialogue is needed between all interested parties….


    Comment by Bajan Touchstone — August 15, 2007 @ 6:18 pm | Reply

  6. I personally thought that Mr.Reid’s behavior was not very professional.

    Comment by Anonymous — August 15, 2007 @ 8:31 pm | Reply

  7. The people of this country are missing the point. As the Station Sergeant said, they are responsible for policing the entire country and not just the revellers and spectators on Kadooment Day.If the requests of the band leaders are acceded to, then who will police the revellers and the spectators properties when they are at Kadooment? Who will provide the security for the other citizens that are not involved in Crop Over? Yhese are questions that you narrow minded people have to answer.

    Comment by John Doe — August 17, 2007 @ 4:06 am | Reply

  8. […] With Respect Sargeant Reid… We Disagree […]

    Pingback by Once Again Stn. Sargeant Reid We Disagree! « Notes From The Margin — February 23, 2008 @ 9:33 pm | Reply

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