By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Valley Boys Junkanoo group was named the unofficial winner of the 2015 New Year’s Day Parade last night, rebounding from their disappointing fourth place finish in the 2014 Boxing Day Parade.
The One Family Junkanoo group took second place, the Roots Junkanoo Group third and fourth were The Shell Saxons Superstars, according to Douglas Hanna, chairman of the Junkanoo Parade Management Team.
The unofficial results came after Junkanoo officials controversially reduced the number of laps the major groups would make in a bid to shorten the parade.
Instead of the usual three laps, each A group performed two laps – one on Bay Street and one on Shirley Street.
The decision received mixed results, however. Officials from both the Saxons and Valley Boys condemned the change, viewing it as further stifling of Junkanoo.
Mr Douglas yesterday dubbed the New Year’s Day Parade a success, although stating that he was unsure if the two-lap format would continue in the future.
“It was successful this time, and I’m only talking about this parade,” he told The Tribune. “(The three laps) has been tradition, that has been going on for quite a while. Honestly I feel that needed to change. It had nothing to do with what happened this year, but every year we continue to try and shorten the parade. We try to get the groups out as quickly as possible. Sometimes we are able to do it, sometimes we are not able to do it. The three laps is now taking Junkanoo into the afternoon, almost evening.
“A lot of people say that’s not even the spirit of Junkanoo, because it is supposed to be held in the dark hours. But it actually gives for a better management of the parade with the two laps. This is only for this one parade. It may or may not be continued, but that’s a decision that has to be made by the movers and shakers of Junkanoo. I do not know if it is going to be considered, but it’s only for this one parade.”
The atmosphere at the parade was filled with excitement shortly after it began, with The Music Makers Junkanoo group being the first to actually bring people to their feet.
The atmosphere changed from exciting to electric, however, following the entrance of the Saxons, seeking to again trounce the Valley Boys as they did in the Boxing Day parade, and rose further with entrance of Rooots, One Family and the Valley Boys, the latter using their “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme and a desire to rebound from their Boxing Day disappointment to propel them to first place.
However, the lively parade did not impress Prime Minister Perry Christie, who yesterday said the government would be meeting with “the Junkanoo community” to see to it that the parade becomes less “boring.”
“It clearly needs a review,” he said. “I’ve spoken to the minister responsible for culture, Danny Johnson, in a meeting (Wednesday). I told him it’s very important for us to meet with the Junkanoo community to advise them that the government is deeply concerned about the lack of precision organisation here. People are bored.”
Delays in the Boxing Day Parade marred the experience for many spectators, which was what initially prompted officials to seek ways of improving the pace of the parade in the future.
The unofficial results of that parade were also delivered some 24 hours after they were expected, causing a wave of confusion. There was also a mix-up in the results; the Saxons were initially named the winners but were later placed second when the full results were revealed hours later. After the results were overturned, One Family was named the Boxing Day winner.