Security detailed at A St Mary Mi Come From 2016
Speaking at Tuesday night's launch of A St Mary Mi Come From 2016, held at 28 Courtney Walsh Drive, St Andrew, the event's security chief linked its peaceful atmosphere to the high proportion of Rastafarians who attend and perform.
There was support from the audience when Barker said Rastafarians are orderly people, so it is expected that A St Mary Mi Come From will be an orderly event. The police also noted the concert's peaceful conduct, reporting over the years the event has been held there has been no violence.
Still, Barker outlined a number of measures to maintain that track record on August 5 at the Gray's Inn complex in Annotto Bay, St Mary; when Capleton, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Chronixx, Jah Cure, Cocoa Tea, Busy Signal, Ken Boothe, Louie Culture, Nadine Sutherland, Terror Fabulous, Romain Virgo, Aidonia, Lady G, Barrington Levy and many others will perform.
Barker emphasised the no re-entry policy, saying "the minute you enter the venue you will be with us enjoying the event" for the rest of the night. Going outside means having to buy another ticket to come back in.
With the vehicles, Barker said "we are trying our best not to have parking on the main road. " A shuttle service is being planned to minimise this, and Barker gave reassurances about vehicle security as "over the years we have had no loss or damage to vehicles."
He put the no weapons policy colourfully, advising licensed firearm holders "you should not take your guns to town." The Annotto Bay police station is about a mile away from the venue, checking in and retrieving the weapons is easy.
In addition to security guards, Barker said there will be police at all the gates to check for weapons. In addition to firearms, Barker identified knives, ice picks, 'half a cutlass', and pepper spray as items which will be taken away. "Anything resembling a weapon will be seized, We will not be taking and giving back," Barker said, as the items will be handed over to the to the police.
Ladies' handbags are not off limits and there was laughter when Barker said scissors will be seized as "you don't do housekeeping at Capleton dance."
However, Barker noted one area of concern, with artistes and their entourages. While a performer is given a VIP armband, the members of their accompanying party are not. Therefore, he said, "the entourage is not expected to enter through the VIP gate, but the general gate." The separation does not go down well and Barker said "if there is a problem we have every year, it is there."
The effort to maintain order will continue, as Barker said "we will be very strict this year, for this is the only area where we have a challenge."