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Carnival sexual violence fears

The “near naked bodies” of men and women who will engage in sexual contact with access to alcohol during the Bahamas Carnival Experience 2019 road march “has the potential to lead to sexual violence, rape and other violent confrontation,” Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) President Bishop Delton Fernander said yesterday.

“We strongly condemn this open display of sexuality, nudity, open consumption of alcohol and indecency associated with this event,” Fernander said in a statement.

“We also further state our deep concern for the safety of our young people especially our young women during these carnival events.

“With a mixture of men and women flaunting near naked bodies engaging in sexual contact with event participants and the open flow of alcohol, we stand with others who believe this event has the potential to lead to sexual violence, rape and other violent confrontation most especially between our young men who may not be able to handle seeing their female friend in sexual contact with other men on the streets.”

Bahamas Carnival Road Fever takes place on Saturday where various carnival bands march or “play mas” through the streets of New Providence. Members of the various bands dress in costumes, which some critics have called “skimpy” and dance to Soca music.

Fernander said the parade, since its inception, has continued to “challenge the moral, ethical, cultural traditions and practices of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, most especially the principles enshrined within our constitution which promotes the foundation of our nation as a country of Christian values, the spirit of industry and a commitment to the rule of law.”

He added, “Simply put, we believe that Bahamas Carnival Road Fever is a vulgar, sexually charged event which many believe is a serious ticking time bomb waiting to explode into a dangerous series of circumstances.

He added: “The reports are some of these Road Fever participants, who make up various groups, openly perform vulgar and sexual acts while becoming intoxicated during their parade route throughout our streets and at times in front of young children and the elderly.”

Fernander said the council has expressed “serious concern” about carnival since its inception and has “strongly warned of the potential harm that we could be exposing our young people especially our young women to”.

When Bahamas Carnival was first launched in 2015, the BCC issued a similar statement, noting that the promotion of “scantily clad women” would only encourage “promiscuity, fornication, rape, incest and other sins of the flesh”.

In his statement yesterday, Fernander described the parade as a “direct contradiction and affront” to Bahamian values, Christian principles and social decency and order.

The council president called on stakeholders to examine whether the event is the kind that “we want to allow on the streets [of] our country and to also determine if the staging of Road Fever is in line with our laws regarding public nudity”.

Bahamas Carnival will take place this weekend from May 3 to 5.

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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