‘Mayhem’ at library eclipse viewing event

Hundreds waited only to be disappointed

A four-year-old girl was left in tears yesterday after her father relayed the bad news to her that she would not be able to view her first solar eclipse safely.

The toddler and her father arrived at the National Public Library at 9 a.m on Monday in hopes of securing one of the free eclipse shades promised by the U.S Embassy in Barbados in collaboration with the library.

Another Willikies man who arrived at the library at 10 a.m with his grandchildren was also upset that he wasted his time.

“Waste of time because we were here long,” a high school student told Antigua News Room.

“So wa them mek people waste their gas and bus money and come ya for?” a mother asked.

Hundreds of residents turned up at the library yesterday after the US Embassy promoted on its official Facebook page that individuals who show up at the library to view the event there would receive a free pair of the eclipse shades.

People gathered early but the shades quickly ran out causing police officers to be called in to control the crowd.

In its defence, the public library said there was some form of miscommunication.

Event was promoted online by U.S embassy

“We do not know how the information went out to the general public,” said Carolyn Spencer the library’s deputy director.

“As a result of that it created a mayhem,” she admitted.

Spencer said only 350 eclipse shades were provided by the U.S Embassy but much more people showed up.

“We had no knowledge, absolutely no knowledge that the general public was supposed to come and receive shades at the library,” she said.

Spencer also reported that herself and other library staff were verbally abused by angry residents.

People resorted to sharing each other’s shades to view the rare event.

For many of the children, it would have been their first solar eclipse since many of them were not born before 1998 when the region experienced a full solar eclipse.

Using the shades is one of the safest ways to view the eclipse without causing harm to the eyes.

The government said based on the huge demand in the U.S and the number of fake items on the market, it did not purchase any for distribution to residents.

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