A reported $12 million was spent on Carnival this year. During the Carnival firestorm, government officials claimed they would increase their funding to our annual Junkanoo Festival. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH EXTRA MONEY WAS PUT IN THE NEW BUDGET FOR THE NATIONAL JUNKANOO FESTIVAL? ZERO EXTRA DOLLARS. That’s right. ZERO EXTRA DOLLARS. Carnival gets $12 million. Junkanoo, which has been getting $1.5 million for YEARS, is still stuck on that same $1.5 million beat, no increase, no change. (Budget Head 47, Block 90, Line Item #911219)
So much for expanding “our” culture.
Why 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? Continue reading