NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced yesterday there would be no changes to the upcoming Junkanoo parades.
Minnis said he spoke with Minister of Youth and Culture Lanisha Rolle about concerns raised by the Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence (JCNP) over the management of the upcoming Junkanoo parades.
The JCNP had accused Rolle of attempting to undermine several aspects of their management agreement without consulting the JCNP and its members, namely the inclusion of a new “B” category group and plans to restructure the parade’s management committee.
“I also want to say Mr. Speaker, with respect to Junkanoo, both the minister and I would have had ongoing discussion with the Junkanoos leaders,” Minnis said.
“The decision is Junkanoo will not change at this particular time.
“We are moving into the Junkanoo season, however in February, the minister and JCNP and all the relevant agencies will enter discussions as to the way forward, so by the end of March we would know the way forward, with respect to the Junkanoo world, because changes must occur, but this must be discussed and agreed upon by all the relevant parties.
“So those matters are resolved as far as we are concern.”
In a statement released yesterday, the JCNP addressed the outcome of its probe into the bribery scandal that rocked last year’s parade.
It was alleged judges had been bribed by certain individuals to boost scores for certain groups and individuals; however, the JCNP said its internal investigation was not definitive and the police determined it was not a criminal matter.
“The JCNP appointed an investigative committee comprised of senior members from its member groups to investigate the validity of the allegations and compile recommendations to safe guard future parades from the same,” read a JCNP statement.
“The Committee interviewed members of the PMT (Parade Management Team) as well as several Judges relative to their involvement in the parades alleged acts of corruption.
“Additionally, several attempts were made to interview the individual at the center of the corruption allegation but were unsuccessful due to the individual’s failure to cooperate with the investigation,” the statement added.
The JCNP said the allegations of bribery and corruption have negatively impacted the Junkanoo Community and its partners.
It cited measures taken to restore the integrity of the national festivals: “a revamped Judges Course to included Ethics Training; a Code of Conduct for Judges with civil/criminal penalties for failure to comply; revised Judges Compensation Package; elimination of the use of personal mobile devices etc. whiles Judging; introduction of a new Digital Scoring Platform, eliminating the use of paperscoring; revamping the SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) of the PMT, Judges Courseand Tally Room; a judging pool with new persons was selected this year”.
The JCNP will host a “Unity Junkanoo Rush Out” on Bay Street at 8pm today.
The parade will start on East Street heading West on Bay Street to Charlotte Street.
All Groups (Category A, B, and Individual Participants) have been asked to assemble no later than 7pm opposite Hoffer’s and Sons on Bay Street with their musical instruments, according to a statement.
The JCNP statement read: “Junkanoos are standing united to maintain control of the JCNP Junkanoo parades. United we stand, divided we fall!”