‘Not buying it!’
NCF takeover of Truck causing controversy
Crop Over 2014 has ended with a clear sign that organizers want changes; but a major move concerning the Revellers’ Truck is causing speculation and surprises that could lead to controversy.
Among changes announced was one by National Cultural Foundation CEO Cranston Browne regarding steps taken to curb a troubled and violence-prone section.
Taking on the role of an event spoiler, that Truck appeared to attract controversy in recent years, with 2014 being marked by a shooting incident and subsequent arrest by lawmen.
As the curtain came down on the 40th Crop Over, Browne spoke of NCF’s planned move to take over the Truck.
“On the table is the NCF’s imminent rebranding and management of the Revellers’ Truck in 2015 to bring a bit of structure and colour to the whole concept so they too can become a part of the spectacle that is Grand Kadooment,” Browne said at the Crop Over Awards ceremony Saturday night.
But Power X Four bandleader Chetwyn Stewart is not buying it.
He told Barbados TODAY: “There is a reason behind that. They are not just taking over because of the colour; they are taking over [because] they probably want to be able to have more control of the revellers, and try to keep the revellers away from infiltrating the bands.
“The main reason for that Truck has been so that the revellers have somewhere they could go and jump instead of coming and jumping into the band. I think the reason behind it is to make it more attractive to the revellers, so they will stay with the truck instead of jumping into the band. I won’t have a problem with that.
“In the past, the reason for the Robert’s Truck was to facilitate the revellers because we found that, if they didn’t have the Truck, they would just come and bore the bands. As it is now, we are still getting problems with revellers boring the bands. So I suppose if they didn’t have that, they figure they would get a lot more problems with revellers.
“I think they just trying to do more with it, make it more attractive to the revellers.”
On the other hand, Stuart wondered whether Truck sponsors Robert’s Manufacturing had stopped supporting it.
“The problem might be that Roberts decided that they not going to sponsor any more.”
Browne had said Saturday: “With the proposed transition to the NCF Truck, we would like to recognize the contribution of Robert’s Manufacturing who has helped to make this possible for a number of years.”
But managing director of Robert’s Manufacturing, Robert Foster, was surprised at Browne’s announcement. He told Barbados TODAY that he was still awaiting a proposal from the NCF about the Truck sponsorship, and a meeting on the matter at the end of September.
“That is all I can tell you, because that is what was agreed to at the last meeting. We never said anything about not sponsoring, or anything.
“We still want to be part of the whole festival, but it has to be done in a certain manner. The last meeting we had with the NCF, it was very clear. They said they were going to put proposals and stuff together and get back to us by the end of September.”