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Police: Culturama 39 Was Incident Free by Monique Washington

Culturama 39 officially came to an end on Tuesday (Aug 6) and police officials have declared that it was “incident free”. A packed 14-day calendar began on July 25. Pageants, concerts, competitions, street parades and reveling were amongst the list of events that took place for the festival season. Speaking with The Observer on Wednesday Divisional Officer for Nevis Superintendent Hilroy Brandy said there had been no reports of any major incidents. Brandy noted that the presence of newly installed surveillance cameras helped to act as a deterrent for criminals. “This has been the first incident-free Culturama in a long time,”he revealed. This came against a backdrop of an unprecedented 8 murders in six months on Nevis, seven of which were a result of gun violence. Weeks prior to the launch of Culturama 39 the Assistant Commissioner of Police Robert Liburd along with the new Minister of Culture Hon. Mark Brantley pledged to provide safety for the patrons during the Culturama festival. The Minister revealed that the NIA had invested in surveillance cameras that were mounted at the various Culturama event venues. The NIA had also requested additional law enforcement personnel from St. Kitts. In the weeks leading up to the festival Assistant Commissioner of Police Joseph Liburd had issued a stern warning to persons who were “bent on creating mayhem”. He informed of a zero-tolerance approach to policing during Culturama which would have resultd in any person caught committing any criminal act during the festivities being arrested and transferred to Her Majesty’s Prison post haste. With the recent gun violence on the island citizens had recalled one of the deadliest years in the Federation’s history when their own Culturama was impacted. In 2011, 26-year-old Jermaine Freeman of Rawlins Village was shot dead hours after the Ms. Culture Queen Show on Emancipation morning (August 1). The shooting took place in the Cultural Village in front of the popular night spot ‘Bull Pen/Rose Garden’ which was packed with patrons at the time. This year heavily armed Defence Force soldiers and a large number of Police recruits were seen providing security at the various events. While some patrons expressed concern over the presence of soldiers with assault weapons in the crowds, others said the use of recruits was ill-conceived as the trainees were not armed, had no power to arrest and were not sufficiently trained to deal with crowd control. Many revelers said they had not minded the presence of the security forces. “Anything to ensure the peace and safety of the people is welcome in my books. We live in New York and listening to the news about our home country and these murders made us a little anxious but we decided we were not missing this year’s Culturama. We came and we are enjoying ourselves and it has been a clean Culturama so kudos to the police,”one Nevisian residing in the US commented. Superintendent Brandy said the Nevis Police Division was grateful for the help received from police officers and soldiers from St. Kitts in keeping Culturama safe.

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