Youth, Sports and Culture Ministry’s Yuletide Schedule Announced
NASSAU, The Bahamas – “Junkanoo this year will become a National Arts Festival” proclaimed Youth, Sports and Culture Minister Dr. Daniel Johnson at a press conference at his ministry November 28. Flanked by senior executives of his ministry, Minister Johnson covered a number of pertinent issues.
The Minister began by heaping high praises on and offering “highest congratulations” to rising track star Anthonique Strachan on being voted the junior athlete of the year 2012 by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF). He said her achievement is tangible evidence that “we (Bahamians) have proven our capacity to be number one.” Anthonique is the first female track athlete to win both the 100 meters and 200 meters at that level since Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell.
The Minister joined the growing list of Bahamians from all walks of life to bring condolences and pay tribute to two giants in the field of sports on their recent passing: Tom “The Bird” Grant and Thomas Augustus Robinson. He opined that “these will be big shoes to fill” as the Minister called on his favourite metaphor of a bridge to connect the life and contributions made by Mr. Robinson and Mr. Grant (the past), Mrs. Pauline Davis-Thompson (the present) and Ms. Strachan who represents the future of sports development in The Bahamas.
Turning his attention to the Ministry’s calendar of events, the Minister revealed that the body of Mr. Robinson will lie in state at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, named in his honour, Monday, December 3, and a state recognised funeral will be held at Christ Church Cathedral on Wednesday, December 5.
The Minister officially announced the “12 Days of Junkanoo” yuletide celebration calendar of events beginning with the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony and Junkanoo Showdown on Bay Street November 29; followed by the AMMC Christmas Arts Festival; National Church Service for Junkanoo; the Junkanoo Brass Competition; the Royal Bahamas Police Force Beat Retreat; a gospel concert; Junkanoo Legends Awards and culminating with both the Boxing Day and New Years Day Junkanoo Parades.
The Minister said that in addition to making Junkanoo a National Arts festival, the country needed to expand its horizon by providing greater economic and artistic opportunities to Bahamians via the vehicle of our premier cultural expression, Junkanoo and sports.
The Minister was bullish and optimistic as he promised that his ministry will revitalise baseball in The Bahamas starting January 2013. His vision is to capitalise on the country’s geography and warm weather to attract international scholastic institutions and sports organisations to hold training camps and host baseball tournaments in The Bahamas. Minister Johnson revealed that his Ministry is in discussions with as many as 40 institutions, mostly high schools and colleges from the United States, Canada and Latin America who have expressed interest in this programme.
The refurbishment of the Andre Rogers Baseball Stadium should be completed by the summer of 2013 according to the Minister and its four baseball fields will have a combined seating capacity of some 2,500 spectators.
“We are in the business of sports. Sports will be an economic engine,” explained the Minister as his Ministry shared preliminary estimates that his Ministry’s commercial sports programmes will eventually cover the annual operating cost of the National Stadium, some $300,000 while providing ancillary entrepreneurial opportunities for scores of Bahamians.
By Elcott Coleby
Caption: Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson displays a copy a flyer advertising the 12 Days of Christmas sponsored by his ministry along with numerous corporate partners. Deputy Director of Culture Eddie Dames is seated next to the Minister. (BIS Photo / Patrick Hanna)christmas, junkanoo