FREEPORT, The Bahamas – Minister for Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson told Junkanoo leaders on Grand Bahama September 7 that they now have a new minister and that he wants to present them with a new vision for Junkanoo.
Dr. Johnson was in Grand Bahama to present $42,000.00 in Seed Money to the 11 groups participating in the upcoming 2012 Annual Junkanoo Parade on Grand Bahama.
The list in the (A Division) includes defending champion, Superstar Rockers, Swingers, Majestic Crusaders, Kingdom Culture, Classic Dancers, Bayshore Warriors, Harbour Boys and Showtime.
The (B Division) lineup includes the Invaders, Rotary Club International, Bushwhackers and The Victory Boys.
Addressing junkanooers assembled in the conference room of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Dr. Johnson impressed upon the gathering that “Junkanoo is far more than we have made it so far.
“What we want to do with it now is extend ourselves into new territory. Therefore, this year will be the first ever celebration of a Festival of Junkanoo, a whole festival series where we will make sure that we fulfil this mandate of extending Junkanoo into now an industry, where you won’t just have one night, but you have many opportunities to put on events.
“We are going to share in Nassau for the first time something called the Twelve Days of Christmas, Christmas celebrations, and so we will have 12 in a series of events to enable people to get more involved, to put some new things together, and really more opportunity to make revenue.
“Junkanoo is probably a $10 million business, and we have not yet opened this market up fully,” he stated.
He said Junkanoo is supposed to be fun and that it is an expression of joy of the freedom that our grandparents and forbearers didn’t have, that we now have, and the joys that flows from it is the expression that led to this wonderful cultural iconic event.
Further, he told Grand Bahamians that while they have planned a series of event in Nassau “we implore you, and you don’t have to do all the 12, but we would ask you to think about what other things you might be able to do in a festive way that includes your Junkanoo celebrations.”
He told them to keep an open mind and work with the national Junkanoo officials on Grand Bahama to find out what else they would like to add.
Touching on Junior Junkanoo, he reminded his audience that this is the 25th Anniversary of Junior Junkanoo and it ought to be something special.
He also added that Grand Bahama now has a new national body for Junkanoo and they will be back in Grand Bahama shortly for the introduction and handover events for that group.
Minister Johnson also made it clear that “national now under my leadership means national ok, and that is what it means. And, I am going to enforce it. That means the National Junkanoo Committees are the reporting organisations for all national events.
“We don’t have to run your event, but as a coordinating effort. Don’t call me! Everyone like calling the Minister and telling him we need this, that and the other. It is impossible for me to do. You have to have a structure and that is what these groups are for, that is your governing body, please use them, coordinate with them, discuss what you are doing, cooperate and make sure you get the resources that are slated to come to your aid.
“If you don’t use that structure, I can help you. It is impossible for me to talk to everybody in this country. You have to follow this structure and it is going to work very well,” he stated.
By SIMON LEWIS
Bahamas Information Services
Caption: Minister for Youth, Sports and Culture, Dr. Daniel Johnson is pictured centre as he presented Seed monies to two young members of the Superstar Rockers Junkanoo Group. Dr. Johnson was in Grand Bahama September 7 and presented Seed Money to Junkanoo groups scheduled to compete in the upcoming 2012 Junkanoo Parade. Pictured from left: Mr. Edison Dames, Deputy Director of Culture; Dr. Lea Percentie, Chairman, Grand Bahama Junkanoo Committee; Ms. Joenicka Thomas, Superstar Rockers; Dr. Johnson; Joelissa Thomas, Superstar Rockers; George Bethel, Co-Chairman National Junkanoo Committee; and Dr. Linda Moxey-Brown, Director of Culture.