Thursday, April 18, 2024

On the air with Brother Ran


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The Citizens Band Radio terem for an emergency is 10-33 and the Barbados Citizens Band Radio Association has been on the air assisting Barbados’ emergency services for almost 40 years.
President Randy Chandler has been with the organization for the past 35 years. His call sign is “Brother Ran”.
“I love my country, plus it’s a hobby. I was president for 13 years before I stepped down last year and here I am again. I love to be able to offer and provide assistance to my fellow Barbadians in times of disaster as well as communication. It makes me feel like am making a difference,” he said.
Chandler said he had witnessed the organization grow over the years, moving from different locations until its present spot along Nursery Drive, The City. However, he said it took a lot of work.
“My first drive as president was to get a new home for us as we had moved from The Grotto, and Strathclyde was inadequate. So, in 1994, after talks with the Ministry of Housing, we were given a dilapidated building here and we worked hard on it,” he said.
Lydon “Mr P” Parris has also been with the association for more than 30 years. He said things were more hectic now than then.
“There are more emergencies now because in those years we used to concentrate mostly on hurricanes but now we also respond to mass crowd events, accidents and flooding – any natural disasters and some man-made disasters too,” he said.
Parris said he was community-minded, which was why he kept going so long.
“Anyplace where I am required, I will be there. It is part of my upbringing and in my blood as I came from a family which was helpful and caregiving, so it would be difficult to get out if it now. Besides, it helps keep me going too,” he said.
Parris, a former president and vice president who is now a board member, said he wanted the public to view the association seriously, as it was not a place to just and have fun on the air.
He said that while it was a hobby, there were serious implications.
Senior technical officer Wesley “Rigger” Nicholas agreed. He said it was the serious side of the organization that kept him coming back.
“I started from school for fun but it was only after I joined the association that I realized the serious part to it, like when you see an emergency situation where communications are needed,” he said.
A self-proclaimed problem-solver, Nicholas said his most exciting times within the organization were climbing up towers to set up wires and install antennas.
There are far more men in the association than women but this does not make the women any less dedicated. Barbara “Lady Golden Eagle” Yarde recalled the days she helped build the association to where it was today.
“This club is mostly male, as some of the females drifted out. I used to hear a lot of negative things about it, like it was a white man’s club, but I stuck with it and proved that was not so,” she said.
Yarde said she got involved through her son and had been part of the association for the past 23 years. She is currently chairman of the fundraising committee and told Street Beat how this was going.
“The general public has been excellent and I thank them for that but we hardly get support from corporate Barbados; most of our funding comes from the members and fundraising events,” she said.
Treasurer Ricardo “General E” Yarde said it was fund raising and a Government subvention which kept the association going but added this year corporate Barbados was responding “okay” although he added more support was needed. He spoke to what kept them doing what they do for no pay.
“We all do it because it is a hobby and we have a love of communications. We like to know we can help the country and its people, and that keeps us going. We don’t look for rewards,” he said.


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