Simple Questions About Our Culture: Junkanoo & Carnival

questionWhy has the level of planning and multiplied millions in tax payer dollars the government wants to spend on a Bahamian knock-off version of Carnival, never been done for our crown jewel of culture, Junkanoo? Why is the promotion and sale of Carnival costumes suddenly such a sought-after idea, when our brilliant Junkanoo costumes have had to find their final resting places on scrap heaps, with no means of our hardworking artisans ever receiving financial benefits and lasting acclaim for their breathtaking and unmatched works of art produced every year? Why do Junkanoo groups have to struggle every year to acquire much-needed sponsorship to keep the culture alive, but a knock-off version of Carnival would happily get at least $9 million in tax payer dollars up-front invested into it? And why are we so content with the level of self-hate we as Bahamians have, that continuously manifests itself in how quick and excited we are to place a premium on what comes from outside The Bahamas over what comes from the work of our own hands, hearts and minds?

KEY OBSERVATIONS: I have noticed is that in all these press conferences about Carnival, we have never seen or heard Junkanoo groups as part of the process as stakeholders. All we have heard is the voice of a consultant followed by the Prime Minister rambling on as he usually does, mouthing what a consultant has told him about how many millions we will lose then probably make some day in the future doing Carnival. Why couldnt that money be invested in growing Junkanoo?

What I also wonder is this: are our Junkanooers going to be the ones putting on Carnival? If so, what will this mean for Junkanoo – since the planning and development for annual Junkanoo parades begins as soon as the new year comes in. If our artisans are now going to be asked to create a different type and brand of costume for Carnival, how will they also be able to devote their standard time and resources to putting on the level of artistry and performance for Junkanoo that they do each year?

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