The Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence (JCNP) yesterday expressed concern with Culture Minister Lanisha Rolle’s ability to handle Junkanoo-related matters, noting a “disconnect” between her and the organization.
“We’re very concerned,” said JCNP Chairman Dion Miller.
“Let me say that the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture has some wonderful, wonderful people…so, it isn’t that the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture doesn’t have capable persons.
“We feel like the minister, for whatever reason, is set on a certain position. For whatever reason, she does not want to see compromise.”
On Monday, the JCNP accused Rolle of disrespecting the organization through her “interference” in its affairs.
In particular, it pointed to a disagreement over Rolle’s insistence to allow a new group, The Immortals, to enter the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day parades as a ‘B’ division group. JCNP said the group is not registered with the JCNP, and will not be allowed to compete for prize money.
However, Rolle insisted that the group’s participation should not be an issue and said there should be a focus on growing Junkanoo.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the parades will proceed as normal.
He said the parties will all meet in February to determine the best way forward.
Minnis’ statement suggests that the minister’s decision on the matter will not stand.
Yesterday, Miller said the JCNP respects Rolle as minister, but it does not agree with some of her decisions.
“There is truly a disconnect and perhaps there has been a disconnect for many years,” he said.
“Junkanoo is not afforded or probably set up like it should’ve been if I compare it to carnival. So, we were never properly funded and all of that. There’s a disconnect. I think that the ministry and the government [don’t] quite understand the real cost of Junkanoo and what goes into Junkanoo.
“Junkanoos spends thousands of dollars, thousands of man hours to go out there and produce it. They are not paid. They’re not compensated. It’s all out of love. And so, Junkanoos just want to be heard. We want to be understood and we want the government to understand where we are and where we want to go.”
On Tuesday, Rolle said she wants the government and the JCNP to work together for the parades.
“I think working together is the best way to resolve any issue,” the minister said.
Rolle added, “The important thing is we want to grow Junkanoo and we want young people who want to be part of the parade, to be a part of the parade every year. [I]f there were five groups and they are organized, they have passed whatever tests that [have] been established, allow them to be a part.”