My Junkanoo experience
I would like to publicly say a sincere and heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the One Family Community and Junkanoo Organization for their amazing Boxing Day parade which today honored the memory of one of their founders and chairman emeritus, Jackson Logan Burnside III. It was a novel and amazingly touching tribute which demonstrated the level of respect and affection Jackson had garnered in the community which he loved. We, his wife, daughters and son-in-law, are most appreciative and joyful knowing that Jackson’s values and principles for caring and sharing were so proudly displayed.
It is therefore with disappointment that I feel compelled to write this letter to report that this joyous event was marred for my family by the actions of selfish and uncaring persons who refused to move from the seats I had purchased in Rawson Square so that the four members of the family and one of our guests could sit together to enjoy the parade.
Due to recent knee surgery, I planned to arrive in time to watch the One Family parade only to find that the three seats which my daughter was saving for us were occupied by a couple who refused to move despite continuous polite requests, even though I pointed out that they were sitting in my purchased designated seats.
Their ‘rationale’ was that the persons behind them had taken their seat so they were taking mine! I then appealed to the couple behind them, asking them ‘out of decency and courtesy’ to please move. They also flatly refused! Appeals to the bleacher officers were ineffective. The protocol officer stated he had no authority to ask persons to move. May I ask who does have authority in these situations? Once a ticket is purchased with the imprinted seat row and number, that seat should be available for the purchaser no matter what time they appear. I would like to appeal to the Junkanoo Corporation New Providence (JCNP) to deal more effectively with such issues. I stopped coming to Junkanoo many years ago for this very same reason and it seems that the problem still exists!
Although I pointed out to the couples that their behavior showed that one person’s inconsiderate actions can multiply to produce more negative actions, they couldn’t care less. They had their seats and too bad for me! This incident clearly demonstrates the unfortunate blatant disregard for discipline, manners, and common courtesy that pervades all sectors of our society today. This selfish attitude is an example of the disregard for common courtesy and lack of community spirit. These necessary attributes existed in the days of my youth and those of my parents and grandparents. Had my husband still been alive, he would have been most disappointed as well and would have reiterated that in our quest for so-called ‘progress’ we have thrown out the baby with the bath water. There can be no progress if we do not first treat each other with respect and civility.
Although this incident was upsetting, I was soon inspired by the couple who were standing directly in the front of me – the male was a Bahamian with an American partner who very kindly turned around to ask whether I could see the parade properly through the standing crowd. Without hesitation he moved to the side to accommodate my view. I wish to thank him for his courtesy and for renewing my sense of hope!
As a nation we all need to correct rude behavior by encouraging and modeling decency and civility, and stop and seriously think about where we are heading. Our future depends on it.
– Pam Burnside