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Some patrons say Bequia Regatta was tame

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While some mainland visitors and local residents to the Grenadine island of Bequia lamented that the Easter festivities were rather tame as compared with previous regattas, one senior official on the island is applauding the decision to curtail some of the goings-on of times past.{{more}}

The consensus on the island last weekend was that the regatta this year was “dead,” due to some drastic changes, which included the absence of music on the Lower Bay Beach, the end point for boat races.

Excursionists would, in the past, gather on the beach, where multiple sound systems would entertain the thousands of persons who ventured down for a day of fun.

This year, except for music from vehicle stereos, all was calm for the most part, causing a number of patrons who came to the area to leave after a short period seeking entertainment elsewhere.

Last year, a decision was made to suspend sound systems from the area, after property owners and locals complained of vandalism and other unsuitable behaviour by visitors to the island.

“Over the years we have been having issues where people come here to us and reporting abuse of property, even from here all the way down to Lower Bay,” the official, who asked not to be identified said.

“The amount of fighting increased, the number of police you have to bring on the island just because of Sunday, and the amount of people that come down on the boat ride and by the time they get here they drunk and everything. They complain about those things.

“Because I would be here and see the boat ride coming down, and they could hardly come off the boat; they’re drunk they laying down there and you have to take them in the sea and bathe them to knock off the rum.

“In order to have a peaceful Sunday, we say let’s stop the music for a while… how long it stop would depend on the behaviour,” the official told SEARCHLIGHT.

The official acknowledged that fewer persons travelled to the island on Sunday, and though that may mean less revenue for vendors and the other businesses, it was a small price to pay for peace and calm.

The official offered what she referred to as a compromise for excursion organizers and the organizers of events in Bequia.

“A good middle ground is don’t sell any alcohol on the boat. If you going to sell it, sell it on the way up, play your music, let them have fun, let them enjoy themselves coming down.

“So that when they get to Lower Bay and by the time they get drunk it is time to go home, and by that time they would be hustling to reach up and they would have less time to vandalize and less fights and so forth.”

The official also acknowledged the fact that a number of all-inclusive events have sprung up on the island, with promoters opting to charge fees at private functions instead of open and free events.

Some visitors and locals complained that these functions were taking away from the “fun” of the regatta.

“Everybody wants to make money; you can’t tell people what to do and where to have their events.

“Under the almond tree is vacant; anyone can come together and have something there.

“As a matter of fact, there was nothing going to happen there because the committee that organized it last year is the same committee that is having the all-inclusive in Industry (beach), so it was a group that came together at the last minute to do something because they didn’t want to leave the Monday dead,” the official said. (JJ)

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