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Wonderful show by the Police Band

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The Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Band stole the show at Wednesday’s 31st Independence Anniversary parade at Victoria Park.{{more}}

For the first time, steel pans were part of the Band, and the two tenor pan players, Constable Delano Bristol and Constable Sean Jack, gave the huge crowd at Victoria Park the first hint that this year’s performance by the Band was not going to be more of the same. Breaking with tradition, the two young men emerged from the formation and danced with the pans strung from their necks, as they played popular local music, accompanied by the rest of the Band.

That wasn’t all. After the pan duet, Drum Major, Constable Omaro Thomas gave quite a captivating performance with his baton twirls. He was followed by young band member, Constable Cemal Gordon, who came to the front of the formation and displayed his break dancing, moon walking and acrobatic skills, much to the delight of the large crowd at the Park.

However, Deputy Bandmaster Station Sergeant Bernard Haynes was not to be outdone and at one point handed over his baton to young Gordon and showed that he too could shake a leg. Incidentally, this year marks the 31st consecutive year that the committed Station Sergeant Haynes has been on parade on Independence Day. On October 27, 1979, he was a band cadet, and took part in the first Independence Day parade. Haynes formally enrolled in the police force in 1980, and since then has never missed an Independence Day parade. This surely must be a record among members of the force. From all reports, Wednesday’s innovations were masterminded by Haynes, with inputs from his band colleagues.

Traditionalists and military experts may frown at the police band’s break from the norm, saying that such displays have no place at a formal military parade. However, in the same way our language, dress, the food we eat, and even the forms of worship in our churches are influenced by popular culture, why not the police band, once what they do, is not disrespectful to their organization, any individual or the nation?

Their injection of modernity certainly made them more appealing to our young population and provided wonderful entertainment which made us sit up and take notice. Their performance was just what the doctor ordered, and in a way, gave us as Vincentians, a feeling of brotherhood, another point around which we could rally and feel proud and excited as a nation, at Independence time. Vincentians of all political colours seemed to have been united in the opinion that the innovation of the band was welcomed.

One excited boy at the Park was heard to comment that he could not believe that another youngster, who had stayed at home, had missed such a spectacle. The bar has now been raised. We look forward to all the troops on parade, not just the band, giving us even more to be excited and proud about next year and in the years to come.