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More assistance needed from government for Bequia Easter Regatta – Sutton

More assistance needed from government for Bequia Easter Regatta – Sutton

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Government needs to put more into the staging of the annual Bequia Easter Regatta.{{more}}

This is the view expressed by at least one member of the organizing committee of the annual event.

Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, Junior Sutton, chairman of the Shows Committee, said they asked government for some assistance, but were told that they could not be facilitated at the moment.

He said, as a result, all the expenses fell back on the members of the organizing committee.

Sutton, however, acknowledged that government does make a contribution to the regatta and sailing club.

But with the event getting bigger, the cost to run the event and to ensure the necessary facilities are provided is increasing, Sutton said.

“It’s a lot of work for not getting the support that it requires,” he said.

This year’s event, despite some successes, was held at a loss to the organizing committee Sutton said.

“At the end of the day, we did not make enough money to pay our bills,” he said.

In last weekend’s edition of SEARCHLIGHT, a number of problems were highlighted, coming out of the staging of this year’s event, particularly with the large numbers of people that went to the island on Easter Sunday.

The patrons of Regis Splectron’s “Hot Gal 4” boat ride came under fire in particular for what Bequia residents have described as “crude and distasteful” behaviour, with some boat ride patrons being accused of urinating and defecating in inappropriate places.

Sutton said more restroom facilities need to be deployed, but said that the four that were provided this year cost $1,200.

“And if you think how many we would need to facilitate a large crowd would probably have cost three times the number that we paid,” he said.

Nevertheless, he agreed that more toilet facilities needed to be made available.

He also said that the organizers of events such as excursions should contact members of the organizing committee and give an indication of how many persons they anticipate will be coming down.

In doing so Sutton reasoned, then the organizers on the ground on Bequia would include those coming from the mainland in activities by making special offers once they arrive.

Cecil McKie, Minister of Tourism, said at a press briefing that he had taken note of the concerns, saying that organizing of the event is a work in progress.

McKie said that there were a number of meetings with the primary objective being ways in which to improve.

There were a number of positive changes, one being the traffic, as a result of these planning meetings and with the deployment of more officers.

But the major problem, according to McKie was that the event was becoming bigger year after year.

“So it would naturally attract more persons,” the minister said.

He said that he intends to meet again with the organizing committee to identify ways to improve the situation, but he said that some measures must be taken to ensure that aspects of the boat rides are not endangered because excursions are a major entertainment component.

Dr Godwin Friday, Parliamentary Representative for the Northern Grenadines is also of the opinion that the event is becoming more of a challenge – particularly on Easter Sunday when people from the mainland or other Caribbean islands make their way to Bequia.

“It is a significant problem because a lot of people come down to Lower Bay and there are no facilities there, that poses a difficulty for the management the next day,” Friday said.

He further stated that he heard and understood the problem of having such a large influx of persons on the island and the demand this put on them to ensure that the relevant facilities are in place.

But he said that he believes that the regatta organizing committee should also be a part of the solution.

“It’s (The Regatta) not something that happens every day it’s a couple of days with a very high volume of people and it is very difficult for the resources down here to cope with that,” Friday said.

He too was of the opinion that promoters planning excursions to the island should cooperate with the members of the organizing committee to ensure that they (organizers) are given a heads up on the numbers to expect.

And for the promoters to get their patrons to understand that it was their responsibility to ensure that they participated in activities in a safe way and not create any unnecessary problems for anybody Friday said. (DD)

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