Bermuda’s Gombey leaders stepped up to address that New Year’s holiday brawl that sparked a flurry of criticism on the local social media circuit.
Long before the police acknowledged the video circulating throughout the island, members of the community expressed outrage and lamented the fact that it occurred in front of young children.
The fracas occurred on Monday evening in the Union Street area, between several gombey groups.
In a statement released yesterday, the Bermuda Gombey Council publicly apologised, saying the troupes involved have “internally dealt with those that escalated tensions”.
New policies aimed at “deterring antisocial behaviour” were also created as a result of the incident.
A Council spokesman said: “The leaders of each Bermuda Gombey troupe met collectively as the Bermuda Gombey Council (Gombey Evolution Troupe, Gombey Warriors, HnH Gombeys, Place’s New Generation Gombeys, Warwick Gombeys, and SMS Village Gombeys) on Wednesday (Jan 4) for a discussion about the Gombey culture.
“Collectively, they wish to apologise to the community for the way that Monday night ended, particularly after such a positive day of family and community Gombey support.
“Much work has been done over the past few years to strengthen the ties between each Gombey troupe, and as role models in the community, the Bermuda Gombey leaders are committed to retaining these connections and working together to preserve the culture they all love.
“The impacted troupes have internally dealt with those that escalated tensions and all troupes have created policies to deter antisocial behaviour and promote unity within the culture.”
The Council also urged members of the media and the public in general, not to share the images still circulating on social media.
“They ask that their friends, followers, fans and media do not share social-media content of antisocial behaviour, but instead celebrate the good parts of the holiday,” he added.
“They ask that everyone support their favourite group without negative banter against other groups.
“Clashes are a part of the Gombey tradition to showcase the unique artistry of each troupe and to celebrate that all of us are continuing the Bermuda Gombey culture.”
Meanwhile, a police spokesman said: “The matter is being looked into.”
He also urged anyone with information on these incidents to contact the police on 211 or, the main police number 295 0011.
“The BPS urge that should you receive the images, delete them from your device and do not share them on,” he added.
National Security Minister Michael Weeks echoed that appeal, saying: “My hope and expectation is that members of the public who were present to enjoy the day’s traditional events will contact the police and assist them with information.
“Any acts of violence cannot be condoned, and this is especially so when an evening meant to be part of our cultural tradition, enjoyed by young and old alike, descends into this kind of altercation.”
Top Feature Photo: Front, L-R: Harley Place, Rieko Trott, Zane Hendrickson, Bilal Binns, Earshun DeShields, Gerkimo Gardner, Wayne Raynor, CJ Ratteray. Back, L-R: Showande Butterfield, Dennis Parsons, Kent Henry, Kinday Johansen, Jairzinho Cooper, Zaniko Hendrickson, Jamie Matthews