PM Christie Knocks Treasured Aspects of Junkanoo


Right now on ZNS’ live coverage of Boxing Day Junkanoo, Prime Minister Perry Christie is saying that there are “A” Groups, “B” Groups, and then there are the other groups such as scrap groups and smaller groups that Bahamians rush in, of which he says: “all they do is take up time and space, which is a challenge that the government has to look at.”

All they do is take up time and space?? Junkanoo is for every Bahamian. So if you are not large enough to be an A or B group, you are a nuisance to the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day parades – a nuisance the government of The Bahamas suddenly needs “to take a look at”?

Leave it to the Prime Minister to get on national television and in one far-too-long live interview dismiss the work, dedication and passion of hundreds of Bahamians who rush in Junkanoo every year. Rushers like The Sting are a throwback to the olden days of Junkanoo which is always critical in cultural events. As just one example, costumes made of newspaper were the costumes of Junkanoo in its earlier form. The essence of Junkanoo is in the love of and revelry in our culture, when it wasn’t about prizes, but about the pure celebration of being Bahamian and coming alive to our unique form of Bahamian artistry.

Meantime, the Minister of Sports is on live talking about how we need to do certain things more like Trinidad and other countries with respect to Junkanoo. For goodness sake man! Every country that has cultural festivals is different and their festivals are unique to them. Do you see any other country saying they need to change aspects of Carnival to copy Junkanoo in The Bahamas? Can someone say “self-hate”?

And NO MR. CHRISTIE – we don’t want Junkanoo moved to the National Stadium, which was one of the ideas he has just thrown out on TV. Street festivals are just that – street festivals. Even the Macy’s Day Parade in the United States is in the street. That’s part of the spirit and charm of such festivals – their closeness to the people – taking it to the streets where the common man can be there and be a part of it all. You take that away, you change the entire aura and life of the parades.

Is there anything that Bahamians love that this current administration does not appear to be dead set on trying to change, and change into something we don’t want?

What the groups and stakeholders in Junkanoo will have to say about moving the parade from Bay Street remains to be seen, but for the love of things Bahamian – don’t kill the spirit of Junkanoo man.