The former manager of rapper Lord Kenya has criticized event organisers, Charterhouse for focusing more on tickets than security at the 20th edition of the Ghana Music Awards.
According to Randy Abbey, organisers of the Awards last Saturday, which was marred by a brawl between dancehall artistes Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale, placed a premium on checking fake tickets than security at the venue.
“We are told that there were scanners there, what were those scanners there for? They were to scan tickets so the sanctity of the tickets was more important or was of a premium value than that of security it’s pretty obvious,” he told Samson Lardy Ayenini on Newsfile on JoyNews.
Mr Abbey stressed that “There were scanners there but the purpose of the scanners was to ensure that no fake tickets got into the process.”
Apart from the security lapses by the organisers, he was shocked by comments made by ACP Kwasi Ofori, Director of Operations at the Greater Accra Regional Police Command after the event.
He noted that ACP Ofori had said the police were not happy with the security arrangement of the event stressing that event organisers should invest in the security and safety of patrons.
According to him, he cringed when he read that ACP Kwasi Ofori had said that the Accra Regional Police Command will not allow event organisers to do their own thing when it comes to security and just request for police presence at the scene.
“Organisers would be required to provide some critical information including the number of people expected at the event, the kind of high profile personalities expected, seating arrangements especially where rival groups are involved,” Mr Abbey, who also hosts Good Morning Ghana on Metro TV, read.
Dissecting the comments by Police Director of Operations’ comments on the event, Mr Abbey noted that, “I am sure but for this event, all us will take it for a giving that this is very basic” and that these should have been the requirements for any event.
He noted that even laymen would have picked up intelligence from past events, tweets and other sources to have been adequately prepared for such eventualities.
Mr Abbey observed that the decision by the organisers not to announce the winners of the last two categories – ‘Artiste of the Year’ and ‘Most Popular Song of the Year’ – helped curtail further escalation of the brawl.
He chastised “non-conformist” Shatta Wale for breaching protocol on the night and “for Stonebwoy how they got a gun in there and to take the gun out.”
He described the ‘Tomorrow’ singer’s action as “very reckless and very irresponsible.”
Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy were arrested by the police on Sunday over a brawl that erupted between their camps at the 20th anniversary of the VGMA.
Pandemonium broke out shortly after Stonebwoy was announced the winner of ‘Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year’ when Shatta Wale and his team were seen going towards the stage, their intentions were unclear.
Shatta Wale, born Charles Nii Armah Mensah, later claimed that he was going on stage to congratulate Stonebwoy. The two artistes were later released on Monday and appeared in court on Wednesday.
Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale, when they appeared in court on Wednesday, pleaded not guilty to Offensive Conduct to Breaches of the Peace following the scuffle at the Awards.
Stonebwoy, born Livingstone Etse Satekla, also pleaded not guilty to an additional charge of Display of a Weapon in a Public Place without permission.