It has been two years since Antigua buzzed with entertainment and social activities on a grand scale like Carnival; and two years since the streets of St. John’s have been plastered with colour and the clashing of steel pan, iron bands, soca and a bouyon of sounds that are known to ignite the Greatest Summer Festival.

It is the kind of music that is sure to stir the spirits of revellers and bystanders who wait to take in each moment, having been denied such opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marketed as the Caribbean’s greatest summer festival, Antigua’s Carnival is back – recording more than one hundred fetes and cultural events leading to Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

The social calendars for many are racking up major scores with the tallies increasing on a weekly basis.

The tagline for this year’s festivities “Reigniting The Spirits” is calling on patrons to regain the vitality of pre-COVID-19 celebrations and to revel in moments of pageantry, to enjoy authentic music and cuisine and of course sip on their personal “spirits” of choice.

But whether you choose to remain at home or enjoy what the streets and other packed entertainment venues have on offer, Safety Steps is on hand to remind you to also protect your lives and properties.

The simple practice of each one looking out for everyone has kept us, our properties and our communities safe for generations. It is a formula that has been tested for centuries with proven and adequate results.

In fact, it is from this very concept that we can today boast about having effective neighbourhood watch groups throughout Antigua and Barbuda. Though some may have an informal presence, the general concept still works.

This “nosey neighbour” approach is ripe with results and has proven its worth. So much so, that we have documented a few ways to keep those safety and security spirits alive.

Here are a few tips:

1. Be your neighbour’s keeper. Let your neighbours know when no one is at home so that they can occasionally cast their eyes and ears upon your property.

2. If leaving home at night, leave a well-lit property both indoors and outdoors. Light acts as a deterrent to those who wish to relieve you of your valuables.

3. Do not mention your whereabouts or provide any hints of your activities on social media platforms. Also, refrain from posting images or videos of yourself or other household members from the location of the activity.

4. Ensure that all unnecessary electrical equipment and appliances are plugged out before leaving home.

5. Have secure locking mechanisms installed on all windows and doors and check to make sure they are properly engaged and working before leaving home.

6. Know your limit and stick to it. Do not consume any illegal drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol.

7. Do not accept drinks from strangers including beverages that were not opened or poured in your presence. Also, remember not to leave your drinks unattended.

8. Always be in the company of others. Moving about in groups acts as a hindrance to those who may wish to cause you harm.

9. Inform a trusted friend or family member as to your whereabouts, who you will be with and your expected time to return home.

10. Have a designated driver to take you and your friends to and from events who would not have consumed any intoxicating liquor or illicit drugs.

11. Leave the partying at the venue. Do not engage in activities while riding in a vehicle that may create distractions for the driver.

12. You are expected home. Drive within the speed limits while observing all other traffic signs. Never be in a hurry to get home after an event. Get there safely!

Igniting the “spirit of safety” ensures that we not only live in well-protected environments but also ensures that those who reside within are cognisant of the fact that we are our brother’s keeper at home, at work, and at play, every day.