18 schools to participate
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The pulsating beat of drums and the soul song of horns will stimulate the excitement and unite the cultural vigor of our youth as 18 schools nationwide are set to participate in this year’s Junior Junkanoo parade.
The festivities will commence in Freeport, Grand Bahama on January 26th, 2019 and will make its way to the nation’s capital on January 31st, 2019. With a new date and a new location, this cultural form of expression will be held on ‘Bay’ for the first time in eight years.
Co-Chairman of the Bahamas National Junkanoo Committee, Kishlane O’Brien, told Eyewitness News Online that the poor involvement of schools was a result of the early date before the Christmas holidays.
“Because we are back on Bay Street and also because the date has been changed from during the Christmas period when there are exams being undertaken and when parents are preparing for Christmas, we’ve gotten already six commitments from schools who have not participated in Junior Junkanoo for several years,” O’Brien explained.
Following previous concerns of spectators regarding the code of conduct of young girls performing, Brien assured Eyewitness News Online that measures are being put in place to ensure that costumes are tasteful.
“Since I became co-chair of the Bahamas Junkanoo Committee, I’ve met with the coordinators of the schools, and we created a criteria,” she indicated.
“We wanted to ensure that they understood the importance of uniformity, the importance of fresh excitement, not fresh in terms of a bad colloquialism, but fresh in a sense of clean and joyous fun. After all, Junkanoo is a spirit, it’s what you feel inside, but in feeling that spirit, we want others to understand that it’s not a matter of gyrating to the point where it is out of control. That is not a part of the spiritual aspect of it that we’d like to exhibit. We want to show you the definition of why it is we do what we do.”
Nonetheless, the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Culture is optimistic about the upcoming celebrations and they are making certain that Bahamian culture and tradition is perpetuated.
Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Rhoda Jackson, expressed that she is “getting her feet wet” after a long hiatus from Junkanoo.
“I’ve heard more drums and cowbells and whistles over the last two or three weeks – I think that would have made up for the 20 years I was absent from the Junkanoo scene,” she joked.
“The story of Junkanoo remains our responsibility to pass on to those who come behind us and today, we are here to do just that – to ensure the story of Junkanoo is passed on to our children.”
The festive proceedings will also reach other family islands such as Eleuthera, South Andros, Mayaguana, Abaco, Cat Island, Acklins, Inagua, and San Salvador.
Interested persons can contact the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Culture or the National Junkanoo Committee for information pertinent to ticket sales, dates, and location.
This article was contributed by Matthew Moxey – Eyewitness News Intern