By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
OFFICIALS are considering postponing Junkanoo parades “perhaps to February” amid uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Youth, Sports & Culture Minister Lanisha Rolle said yesterday.
However, she stressed no official decision has been made as yet as discussions are still ongoing. She added the ministry is also being guided by health officials on the matter. “I believe that the organisers of Junkanoo and the ministry, they’re coming together to have discussions whether remotely or otherwise to determine what, if anything, can be salvaged in terms of Junkanoo, in particular for this year or rather even perhaps we could look at pushing it back a little, perhaps to February or something is what I’m understanding that they’re discussing.
“But, there’s nothing being decided as yet and so we want to continue to be optimistic. I believe we all need to maintain that optimism that things at the end of the day will work out.”
Her comments came after the Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence said in a statement that “only time will tell” how Junkanoo parades look this season - if they are hosted at all.
However, noting that she is hopeful “everything will work out”, Mrs Rolle said their main priority is ensuring all Bahamians are kept safe in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
“Junkanoo is very important for us. It is a very important part of our culture, a part of our celebrations and a part of the end of the year and maybe that’s really going to cause us to be a little more jubilant at the end of year, so hopefully things can come together,” she said.
“But at the end of the day, we want to be safe so we’re looking, and we’re being guided by the safety of our (health) personnel to ensure that we’re all safe and able to have it and if not, we’re going to just simply going to continue to make the adjustments with people and their health being the priority.”
However, several Junkanoo leaders told The Tribune on Monday they are eying dramatically scaled back parades as the COVID-19 crisis wreaks havoc on their preparations.
Still, leaders noted if the lockdown were to extend well into the end of May, they would be able to prepare for the two parades.
“We are Junkanoo jonsers,” said Kendenique Campbell-Moss, co-chair of the Saxons Superstars.
“Any slice we could get we are getting. It might not go as full scale as in years past because we know the constraints of people in the groups.”