By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture’s Junkanoo conclave, proposed to address the overall quality of the 2017-2018 season, will convene next Thursday.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Michael Pintard yesterday confirmed the date, asserting the forum would allow all interested stakeholders to "have their say on ways to deliver the best product possible".
The conclave is scheduled for February 15-17.
The Marco City MP said, in addition to discussions centred on ways to improve future parades, from locations and time, to bleacher arrangements and the construction of multi-purpose Junkanoo shacks as identified last month; practitioners and stakeholders are being asked to aid in the festival's "self-evaluation".
He told The Tribune in an interview yesterday: "The idea is to examine where we are; the placement of this parade and how we as a country tend to view Junkanoo."
Mr Pintard said officials will look to address both increasing parade participation and expanding the "life-span" of parades during the season.
"We will, and I want to make this as clear as possible, there will be, without fail, a complete festival enacted around the major parades during the holiday season," Mr Pintard said.
He continued: "So whether we do one parade or two during the holiday calendar, you will expect to see a festival structured around that time of year. We want our visitors, whether from our family islands or our international tourist, to be faced with several options to experience Junkanoo as a cultural expression."
"That's the driving force behind all of this.
"We want to expand the way Junkanoo is viewed.
"We are entertaining all discussions on how we can segment a week and build an experience around Junkanoo in that time-frame. We will lead the discussion on how do we sustain our practitioners year-round. How do we internationalise the festival and this cultural expression."
Mr Pintard added: "We are in the business of manufacturing Junkanoo. We are the originators of this art form, so we intend to encourage the international demand for it and then work to supply that demand."
The 2017-2018 Junkanoo season was marred by hiccups, including delays at the 2017 Boxing Day Parade, low turnout to the 2018 New Year's Parade and a nearly month-long postponement of a major parade in Grand Bahama.
The issues that plagued the 2017 Boxing Day Parade were so severe, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis was prompted to call a major meeting with Junkanoo leaders at his office to express his “pain and disappointment”.
However, despite the intervention, issues still persisted to the 2018 New Year's Day Parade.