By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE VALLEY Boys can now officially boast of winning “three straight” after the group narrowly pulled off another victory at the New Year’s Day Junkanoo Parade.
One Family came in a close second, losing to the Valley Boys by .61 points.
Prime Minister Perry Christie, speaking to The Tribune shortly after his “cherished” Valley Boys paraded through Rawson Square, said he expected a close margin of victory for the group as a result of a “lively and remarkable” performance by One Family.
According to unofficial results, the Valley Boys won the category A division with 87.78 points. The group came ahead of One Family which had 87.17 points followed by Roots with 85.43 points and the Shell Saxons Superstars with 84.47 points.
Initially, the Roots were awarded the second place slot, but after further assessment of the results, the Junkanoo Commission of New Providence (JCNP) bumped One Family to second.
Meanwhile, the Prodigal Sons and the Music Makers were disqualified from the category A competition in Friday’s parade.
The Prodigal Sons did not meet the “fundamental requirements” to conform to A group standards, The Tribune understands. The group had similar issues during the 2015 Boxing Day Parade.
Additionally, the Music Makers failed to complete the required third lap of the parade; as a result, the group was disqualified.
Despite the best efforts of their competitors, the Valley Boys refused to be denied their crown. Flying through Bay Street early Friday morning under the theme “Birds of a Feather March Together,” the Valley Boys left spectators in awe of their performance.
When it was their turn to shine, One Family unleashed their “The Life of a Legend: The Marley Experience” theme. The group played its way onto Rawson Square with Bob Marley’s celebrated tune, “Redemption Song”. The song was fitting as One Family wanted to seize a victory, the group felt, that was rightfully theirs.
Once in the centre of Rawson Square the group, led by the heavy hearts of its brass-line, made the moment one to remember, evoking the emotive notes of the musician’s “Three Little Birds” tune.
Days earlier, the brass-unit lost one of its members, Kirkwood Rolle, in a traffic accident.
According to reports, police were called to the scene of a traffic collision south of West Ridge shortly after 12.30am on December 27. Upon their arrival, officers discovered that a black Honda Accord had crashed into a utility pole.
Rolle died with long-time friend Marcian Bullard.
Paying tribute to Rolle, the group’s brass-line adorned their instruments with wreathes and photos of their comrade.
The Valley Boys tied with Roots for the best Shirley Street performance, while winning the banner, choreography and off the shoulder categories.
With Friday’s colourful and spirited performance, the Valley Boys secured their third consecutive parade victory - the 2015 New Year’s Day Parade, the 2015 Boxing Day Parade and the 2016 New Year’s Day Parade.
The Shell Saxons Superstars have lost the last six parades – their last victory coming during the 2013 New Year’s Day Parade.
In category B division, the Genesis “Warhawks” delivered on their promise to win over spectators; finally surpassing Colours Entertainment to win the B division.
The Genesis Junkanoo Organisation split from the Shell Saxon Superstars early last year over concerns that the mega group would not incorporate innovative ideas and structure.
In total, six category A and 13 category B groups took to Bay Street with an assortment of themes on Friday morning.
Jeff Lloyd, head of the JCNP’s parade management team, said that heading into the 2015-2016 parade season his team made a decision to do all it could to ensure that parades moved efficiently and effectively.
He told The Tribune: “Coming in, we had a number of complaints. The major complaint was this issue of punctuality. People wanted that to be eliminated, they were tired of the 35-45 minute delay; they were tired of the hour-long gaps. That was our mandate and that is certainly what we worked to address. Now I say, there are many other ills and as time goes on, we will work to fix all of those other issues.”
The most recent parades were applauded for their organisation and efficiency.