Traffic blocking

by Latoya Burnham

The amazing flexibility of the stiltmen.

Pomp and pageantry — how often we hear those terms. But this morning that was exactly what brought Broad Street, at least the people, to a halt as the Republic Bank (Barbados) Ltd Crop-Over Opening Gala and Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes was launched in the heart of the City.

The bank threw open its doors to Mother Sally, mauby sellers, stiltmen, tuk band and Landship, as CEO of the National Cultural Foundation, Cranston Browne, told the public that they could expect free entry to this year’s gala.

Browne told media, moments after the launch that the decision was taken to return the festive official launch of Crop-Over to the list of free events to keep that family atmosphere.

“We want to promote it as a family event and we know that times are difficult for families, so we want to give something to communities and we thought it would be a good gesture to launch Crop-Over, our Opening Gala and give it to Barbadian families,” he said, extending thanks to the bank for allowing them through a $65,000 cash donation to the event to be able to offer it free.

Cranston Browne (second right) and Simone Codrington (right) of the NCF accept the cheque from Deborah Stoute (left) and Sharon Zephirin of Republic Bank.
Cranston Browne (second right) and Simone Codrington (right) of the NCF accept the cheque from Deborah Stoute (left) and Sharon Zephirin of Republic Bank.

Senior Manager of Retail Services with the Bank, Sharon Zephirin, said last Crop-Over provided them with the opportunity to rebrand and restate their commitment to the festival.

“As a bank, we recognise and understand the importance of culture to the overall development of this country and a nation, as culture and its various forms of expression, whether it be art, music, dance, theatre, etc., bridges all gaps — racial, social and generational,” she said.

She explained though that while their cash donation directly to the Opening Gala was $65,000, in fact the bank’s contribution was about $200,000, which matched what they would have donated in the past.

Manager of Marketing and Corporate Communications, Deborah Stoute, added: “We inject a cash component so the NCF can do the things it needs to, the actual staging of the event on that day including the reception for other sponsors and invited guests… the bank will facilitate all that.”

That also extends to the parade, she noted, adding that they aided with the floats and performers at the gala, some of whom put in appearance in the City today.

It provided quite a sight for some visitors and locals who popped out cameras and camera phones excitedly to record the action, as the Mother Sallies duelled each other, the stiltmen went through impressive routines in dexterity and balance and the mauby sellers took us back to the days of old.

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