Boxing Day parade challenges

Boxing Day parade challenges
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and his grandson enjoy rushing with the Saxons Superstars in the Boxing Day 2018 Junkanoo Parade. (BIS Photo Yontalay Bowe).

JCNP president says poor weather and road blockage created delays


NASSAU BAHAMAS – President of the Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence (JCNP), Silbert Ferguson on Wednesday attributed the long delays that spectators had to endure at the 2018 Boxing Day Junkanoo parade to a weather system and a road blockage that led to the delay of four major A groups and others that followed.

The Valley Boys, who was fourth out the parade gate, followed by the Prodigal Sons, Roots and One Family had anxious fans waiting for lengthy periods, leading the parade to wrap up much later on Boxing Day at 11:00 a.m., despite the early start at 10:00 p.m. on Christmas Day.

“Right now we have reports in that there was some sort of blockage that caused four of the major groups not to be able to leave the gate, and so that is still under investigation and there is nothing much I can say until the parade’s management team has come back to the JCNP with regards to what occurred,” Ferguson said.

The JCNP president explained that before the Boxing Day parade began, all groups moved ahead to prepare themselves to perform based on a report issued from the Department of Meteorology.

The Met Office, he said, forecasted precipitation between 2:00–4:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

He noted, however, that precipitation [light rain] began as soon as JCNP members left the Met Office meeting on Christmas morning.

“This really had groups off balance, because every time they attempted to leave the shacks, they had precipitation and this destroys the costumes, preventing them from coming out,” Ferguson said.

“Water and costumes and crepe paper don’t mix and so we [the JCNP] had a challenge, and all of the groups had a challenge, and once they all got in there [in the line-up] it wasn’t the normal mobilization.

“The mobilization was helter-skelter because everybody was trying to get in at the same time and hence I think we had a serious blocking issue. We are still waiting a report on exactly what happened and we will take it from there and make the changes.”

According to Ferguson, all groups were ready to perform and it was unfortunate that the weather and a road blockage affected some of them.

Elaborating on the blockage, Ferguson explained that once a container of costumes arrive into the parade, the groups that are leading the parade happen to secure what he referred to as “prime spaces”.

“Those groups coming in at the tail end do not have the space to move through and get through and so that is just a little bit of what I heard. We will try to work and see how we can correct it,” Ferguson said. “Hopefully we take this opportunity in the new year to make the necessary corrections.”

Public relations and event coordinator for the One Family Junkanoo group, Anthony “AC” Coakley confirmed last night that they faced a few challenges before being able to perform on Bay Street, which mainly included a blockage of the area with the “containers” of other groups as well as the wind.

“I do know there was a major issue with one group where they left a costume in a place that made it difficult for other groups to pass and mobilize,” said Coakley, whose group captured the Boxing Day win with its “nursery rhymes” theme.

“Another group, I understand, had containers in place which made it extremely impossible for the other groups which were coming into the parade… because of where they had placed their containers, to my understanding.”

As for the weather, Coakley said the wind was a major setback for One Family and other groups as many costumes were damaged because the strong wind snapped rods making it difficult for them to mobilize.

“A lot of the groups were using cranes to put the costumes together and can you imagine that large piece of costume just moving with the wind when you are trying to slot that into a small fitting? It was really challenging trying to mobilize because of the wind,” Coakley said.

Meanwhile, the New Year’s Day Junkanoo parade is expected to kick off at 2:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

The late start in comparison to Boxing Day is to allow persons to attend New Year’s Day celebrations and watch night church services.