The Junkanoo corporation’s decisions
Happy New Year Bahamas and thank you, Editor, for the space in your daily.
What has recently unfolded concerning the two Junkanoo parades has left many crying foul, with a possible court case for the aggrieved Junkanooers for the way the matters were dealt with.
In fairness to the Junkanoo corporation, we know that the task to regulate such a massive undertaking is painstaking and tedious. But I must remind this group that, even though there are rules governing the behavior of performers in these parades, we must bear in mind, firstly, that it is voluntary. The performers are not paid. A spectacle for Bahamians and visitors to our shores, tremendous efforts go into the preparation, formation and themes brought to life and executed via various costumes. They must acquire the materials to make these pieces a reality; many hours are spent in the shacks and away from their children and mates. Imagine the sleep deprivation, while the costumes are designed, constructed and the frames are born. This is some of what goes into it, as well as getting the pieces to Bay Street, not to mention the many practices and equipment used for more than six months before the official parades. This is why we ought not trivialize this awesome commitment. What am I saying?
Editor, too much blood, sweat and tears have gone into bringing those sketches on paper to reality on Bay Street, to have a group — any group — disqualified for reasons we have been given by the Junkanoo Corporation New Providence (JCNP). These groups have followers, family members who really want to see their loved ones performing in the pieces that they’ve worked on over the many months, and to see whether they were executed with distinction and on time.
Editor, there is also the question of seed money, derived from the public treasury and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. For this reason the Bahamian people would like to see how their tax money has been spent by these groups, claiming to have used all of the money on the preparations for the parades. So, if the JCNP were to disqualify any such group, how would the people be able to gauge to what extent money was spent?
Editor, it is my belief that the only way a disqualification ought to be levied is if something catastrophic happens, not something as minuscule as not having the 200 performers. A more appropriate penalty would be to remove points awarded already, but never to cancel the entire group’s participation. I submit, that to do so, is rather severe, a hostile act almost, and totally unnecessary. And to do this during the celebratory Yuletide season sends the wrong message.
Junkanoo is never the same without the participations of the Music Makers Junkanoo Group. It seemed to me and others that something is very wrong with the way this group has been treated over the years. The same way the major groups are able to participate, the same consideration ought to apply to the Music Makers organization. Let’s be fair.
— Frank Gilbert