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Minnis: Fund Junkanoo, not Carnival

FNM leader Hubert Minnis

FNM leader Hubert Minnis

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday renewed calls for the government to increase funding for traditional Junkanoo festivals instead of launching a new commercial cultural product.

Dr Minnis said the $9 million proposed to be spent for the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival should have been utilised to increase the seed money and prizes offered for the Christmas and Boxing Day Junkanoo parades.

He said the recent decision to change the festival’s name to include the word Junkanoo was a “face saving” measure to counter backlash from the cultural community.

“They said they believe in Bahamians, they initially came with Carnival which is not Bahamian,” Dr Minnis said. “They got a lot of backlash, now what, they come with Junkanoo Carnival trying to put some Bahamian entity into it.

“We have a cultural event, we have Junkanoo, that’s our culture and we must build on that,” he added. “Many of our Junkanooers spend thousands of their personal money to get to Bay Street at Christmas time. They sacrifice their lives, their time, their family, spending days and nights in the shacks just to prepare to go to perform on Bay Street.

“Why should we spend $9 million for Carnival that’s not us, why shouldn’t we invest in increasing the seed money for the Junkanoo groups so that they can have more?”

Dr Minnis said increased financial support would incentivise entrepreneurship as participants would be more inclined to expand their knowledge and cultural product.

He called for a cultural village designed to exhibit Junkanoo events year round.

The first Bahamas Carnival Week is scheduled for May 3-9, 2015. During Carnival week, four major events will be staged. A commission, chaired by former banker Paul Major, will oversee the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival.

During an official ceremony launching the event at Pompey Square last week, Prime Minister Perry Christie expressed his optimism for the event that is expected to span five weeks and will kick off on Easter Monday.

The event will feature a series of activities, including concerts, cultural shows, balls and street parades, which will depict all aspects of Bahamian culture and heritage. During the period, one week will be set aside and will be known as Carnival Week.

Comments

PKMShack 7 years, 11 months ago

Do all that at Christmas time when more tourist escape the cold weather to visit us, and they are more apt to spend a few dollars Middle of the year can't see it bringing the numbers they think, i.e. bad plan = waste of moey. Or use it to pay back some debt.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 years, 11 months ago

This bigot is too easily distracted by whatever bone Perry chooses to throw at him to derail his simpleton mind.....and LTB knows it!

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TalRussell 7 years, 11 months ago

Such a good, decent and most gifted man in many aspects but totally out of his comfort zone when it comes to political astuteness. Comade Minnis who has no government car allowing for his PM's assigned driver to chauffeur him around Nassau Town. I say dump the driver immediately to reallocate that taxpayers funding to hiring himself a good lead policy strategist. If not at least sit quietly on the sidelines and go hire himself a lead media commentator. By attacking the government's funding of The Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, the Comrade leader of Her Majesty's official opposition party in the House of Assembly showcases his own policy weaknesses. How can he not expect to draw fire away from the PM to attract towards what many are now viewing as the Junkanoo "Junkman's & Junkwoman's" atmosphere of his leadership and that of his party's lead executives? Too many shopping buggies be pushed up and down the grocery and meat isles of a Super Value and heading to the checkout cashiers - all but empty of stuff to feeds their families to be dealing with such a trivial matter.

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ThisIsOurs 7 years, 11 months ago

I agree that he needs a strategist, he is too easily distracted and he picks on small issues as opposed to seeing the bigger picture. The Carnival festival is just one aspect of the misuse of our funds, abuse of power and political corruption. Those are things that people can understand and if he stuck to that line he would do better. Nygard, BOB, Stellar Waste, Kohlrautz, Renew Bahamas, Carnival, PHA, BAMSI, BEC+ 100,000 cash payment and family reconnections, they are ALL symptoms of the same thing. Lump them together, keep them in the spotlight and target the big picture. In the meantime get a strategist.

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Cobalt 7 years, 11 months ago

I thought Perry said the PLP's motto was a Bahamas for Bahamians! Now he's ushering in a foreign festival and attempting to merge it into our culture??? I guess all he really wanted was another opportunity to do the Perry shuffle!

We Bahamians must be the biggest suckers on the face of the earth. SMH

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TheMadHatter 7 years, 11 months ago

Once the FNM continued to allow all those folks from the "southern caribbean" into the Bahamas - this was bound to happen.

Teach ya children Creole and Mandarin, or they ga be the new gardeners.

TheMadHatter

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SP 7 years, 11 months ago

I have little regard for the PLP and their MANY shortfalls, however, the "creation of a Junkanoo Carnival" is not one of them.

Dr. Minnis is stupidly copying U.S. Republican tactics of opposing simply to oppose. He will learn in good time that most people disagree with him.

Anyone with eyes can see and understand that Junkanoo despite being world renown, in it's present Xmas and New Years presentation is not a large tourism attracting product.

This point is irrefutable based on the miniscule numbers of tourist that can be seen at either Junkanoo parade.

Fact is, Bahamians will celebrate these Junkanoo parades with or without tourist coming to our shores and with or without government sponsorship or involvement.

Junkanoo parades are a Bahamian cultural event predominately by Bahamians AND GEARED TO Bahamians!

That being said.

Governments idea of introducing a "properly timed Junkanoo Carnival" specifically targeting tourist is an absolutely brilliant idea which will generate business for the ailing tourism industry.

Government should also be creative and look into jazz, rock, blues, hip hop, pop and or combinations of other carnivals.

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valleygirl 7 years, 11 months ago

SP, you are quite right, and the anti carnival folks need to see it this way. Junkanoo is a Bahamian celebration exclusively. Carnival is not replacing Junkanoo, it's entirely a separate event.

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