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‘Carnival Is No Risk To Society’

JUNKANOO Carnival Commission Chairman Paul Major

JUNKANOO Carnival Commission Chairman Paul Major

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

JUNKANOO Carnival Commission Chairman Paul Major yesterday defended the inaugural festival from critics who argue it would lead to social degradation, and said it was an “undeserving indictment” to “say that Bahamians can’t conduct themselves in a festive atmosphere.”

Mr Major also questioned the commercial viability of the existing Junkanoo product, saying the traditional Junkanoo model has no “economic benefit” for the country. He called it a “net expense” to the government, Junkanoo stakeholders and participants.

He also said an announcement on the festival’s lineup of local entertainers would be delivered next week, while the announcement of the “Grammy award winning” international artist would come “shortly thereafter”. According to published reports, the government is trying to nail down Barbadian singer Rihanna as Carnival’s main act.

“I’m a church going person myself. I’m a Methodist, and I go to church 7 o’clock every Sunday morning when I’m here, so I would never ridicule the church for their positions. If they feel this can be a fallout from what we’re doing that’s their view,” Mr Major said when asked about criticism of the festival from the Christian Council.

“I believe that as someone who has been to Carnival, that’s been to (Rio de Janeiro), that’s been to New Orleans, I think it is the undeserving indictment to say that Bahamians can’t conduct themselves in a festive atmosphere such as a Carnival. That just doesn’t compute for me. That’s just not good commentary on us as a people,” he said on the sidelines of a Rotary Club meeting at Poop Deck West.

Recently, Bahamas Christian Council President Rev Dr Ranford Patterson said the “immodest” costumes for the planned event could lead to “fornication, promiscuity, rape incest” and other “sins of the flesh.”

Last week, Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller called the festival “garbage” and suggested Carnival could have a negative impact on youth by being sexually suggestive. He later apologised for his comments.

Free National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis has called for the government to increase funding for traditional Junkanoo parades instead of spending the allocated $9 million on launching a new commercial cultural product. He also accused the government of copying other countries’ culture.

In response, Mr Major yesterday said the current Junkanoo model has no “economic benefit” for the country.

“I’ve got the moral authority to say that having been a ‘junkanooer’ and having been on the Junkanoo committee,” he said. “It does not bring any incremental tourists here, because the hotels are full anyway in the winter. So to have a Junkanoo Carnival in May when the hotels are virtually empty and to put the ‘junkanooers’ to work when otherwise they would be idle makes all the sense in the world to me.

“Some people have become impassioned about the name Carnival, some people are impassioned about Junkanoo, and I have nothing against any of those things. But what I say to people is, if you’ve got another model that would allow the people that have all this talent and ability to be able to earn a living from it, please come forward.”

Last month, it was revealed that the members of the Carnival Commission were seeking to pay American pop star Janet Jackson $1.9 million to perform during the week of activities, a proposal that was rejected by the government.

When questioned on the issue yesterday, Mr Major said an announcement on the entertainment lineup will come soon.

“There are a number of acts that we’re trying to negotiate,” he said. “Until we’ve been able to firm up any one of them I wouldn’t want to go public at this stage.”

Prime Minister Perry Christie has also strongly defended the planned festival in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, he said the event would give thousands of young Bahamians the opportunity to earn a living doing something they enjoy.

Junkanoo Carnival is scheduled for May 7 to 9 in New Providence with an earlier festival in April planned for Grand Bahama.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 10 months ago

You're absolutely right Mr. Major, Carnival is no risk at all to our society. It's the likes of you who present the real risk to our society!

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mangogirl01 5 years, 10 months ago

Lol! TalRussell you crack me up all the time! All Mr. Major sees is $$$!

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TalRussell 5 years, 10 months ago

Comrade I try bring smile Tribune readers and my Dear Comrade bloggers and what the heck, why not cuz - I figured I'm pretty safe from being seriously sued for some kind libel slanderous nonsense, at least until AFTER Carnival. How can you sue someone, before the real Carnival act is complete and the FACTS ARE IN? Hopefully, any intelligent Comrade Judge would see the circus act this Carnival thing is quickly turning into.
I am going do one on those Outhouse Potty Toilets the Committee or someone above them, had specially designed and believe me, I am not making them potty toilets up.

My caption will be: "PottyGate Gone Wild in da OutHouses"

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ohdrap4 5 years, 10 months ago

he is just as unqualified as the christian council to give and opinion lol.

leslie miller and i shall stay at home. lol.

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positiveinput 5 years, 10 months ago

Why is there a need to book these expensive entertainers when we have home grown Bahamian Artist whom are just as good, if not even better. I have had the opportunity as a disc jockey to work on Rawson Square, Junkanoo Beach and Prince George Warf. For every event when I selected Bahamian Rake n Scrape, the tourist would ask in amazement where could they find a cd with that type music. I started carrying a stack of blanks so whenever asked, I could give a quick burn copy as a gift. You would be amaze the tips given. Why overlook the talent we have right here. Nobody performs better than a Bahamian artist. What would you call Bahamian entertainment, Rihanna acting out some sex act on stage, or an artist knocking the conch style, mashing the roach or good old clean ring play?

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GrassRoot 5 years, 10 months ago

1000% agreed. only reason: photo-op for PGC and DPM & Co. Who flies to the Bahamas to see Janet Jackson?

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 10 months ago

I'd really like to know who had the teenage dream of meeting and rubbing shoulders with Janet

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GrassRoot 5 years, 10 months ago

other ideas: 1. Bahamas Octoberfest. 2. Bahamas Mardi Gras 3. Bahamas Macy's Thanksgiving Parade 4. Bahamas Chinese New Year 5. Bahamas Brazilian Carnival 6. Bahamas Rose Parade 7. Bahamas St. Christopher Day Party 8. Bahamas Love Parade (boompa boompa) 9. Bahamas St. Patricks Day Festival 10. Bahamas Superbowl Parade

Government Expenses: 10 x 9 Mio BSD.= 90 Mio BSD (from my right hand) Generated Revenue for Bahamas: 10 x 30 Mio BSG = 300 Mio BSD (to my left hand)

That I call a no brainer.

and yes we ensure you that all these festivities will display our deep and emotional connection with all these our traditions.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 10 months ago

I protest unless you add "Junkanoo" to each title, then it'd be ok

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Publius 5 years, 10 months ago

Someone get Paul off my screen talking foolishness. Oh, nevermind; I'll just leave.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 10 months ago

Mr Major also questioned the commercial viability of the existing Junkanoo product, saying the traditional Junkanoo model has no “economic benefit” for the country. He called it a “net expense” to the government, Junkanoo stakeholders and participants.

This is weird, all week I've heard various spokesmen citing details on the amount of money already spent by carnival companies locally as evidence of the economic impact. During Junkanoo, if I'm not mistaken, people buy feathers, material, vendors sell food items they prepared,some persons outsource the pasting of their costumes, sculptors are paid for their art, and don't forget that any clothing retailer selling boots or turtlenecks get a bump in sales...how is this different from what had been touted as the positive impact of Carnival?

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Girly 5 years, 10 months ago

I felt so disheartened when he made that comment.

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MaLambee 5 years, 10 months ago

Seriously? Seriously? My heart continues to break with what our PM is employing. Do you al remember who was escorted of the bank premises by police for ????? This person under the PLP was also given a job at a Quasi governmental corporation where his suits were cleaned, by the government, expensive lunches were hosted for friends.. Please, Please and what went on at Bahamasair? Now we have the gall to have the same person in charge of what? Am so done with the PLP and as for the FNM, a greedy cobbler who butchers women should not be our PM either. In that same FNM party are so many people who abused the system, like faking trips to go see their kids in college and the likes. They are all corrupt. Peter is no better than Paul. I want to say that I respect the leader of the PLP much more than the Leader of the FNM but, but the former makes awfully bad decision and I dont think the latter knows how to make a decision. Finally, I would like to hear from Birdie, I do agree with many of the things she say..but would love to hear her take on this...

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 10 months ago

There is nothing wrong with having a parade. What is wrong is that they've put money making as their chief objective. They put it above being Bahamian so they see nothing wrong with selling the Bahamas short. And when they sell the Bahamas short they will say, look at the money we made what is wrong with you.

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Girly 5 years, 10 months ago

"Mr Major also questioned the commercial viability of the existing Junkanoo product, saying the traditional Junkanoo model has no “economic benefit” for the country. He called it a “net expense” to the government, Junkanoo stakeholders and participants."

This comment saddened my heart as a Bahamian.How can he make such an ill advised and insensitive comment on a culture that Bahamians young and old grew up on,smh.What have we become. WE are the laughing stock of the world.

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