Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Virtual Junkanoo Flop Stirs Public Whiplash. Link Removed from Social Media

The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture are bearing the brunt of public scrutiny after producing a virtual version of the country’s Junkanoo celebration on New Years Day.

Some people took to social media to air their frustrations describing the event as a low-budget production, prompting the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to remove the link to the Junkanoo event from social media.

Social media users who did not get a chance to view the virtual event lamented that they could not find the link.  When CSJ Report searched the ministry’s page and ZNS’s page on Facebook, the link could not be found.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg has since apologized for the poor production and made public the spending that accounted for the virtual event.

To abscond blame, he clarified the ministry’s dealings with the production, stating that it was a private contractor who won the bid to record and produce the event which was aired on ZNS and Facebook.

He stated that the total spending for New Providence, Grand Bahama, and Family Islands accounted for $300,000, adding that a $126,000 stipend was given to Junkanoo groups– $11,000 to seven Category A groups and $7,000 to seven Category B groups.

He said $24,000 was spent on production and advertising while $200 was spent on audio advertising.

The remaining balance of the $300,000 will be spent on the virtual parades for Grand Bahama and the Family Islands, the statement read.

The big story

For the second time, in-person Junkanoo which is held twice a year, has been canceled due to the pandemic. Last year, the ministry hosted a virtual recording of the parades. There were no cash prize awards, but winners were announced.

Valley Boys won the virtual event; Saxons Superstar took 2nd place; One Family came third and Roots was fourth place.

In Pictures: Phoenix Suns Deandre Ayton Returns Home After Playing in NBA Finals

Bahamian professional basketball player Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns returned home on Friday after playing in the 2021 NBA championship finals.

Executives of the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation and the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture welcomed him home.

In the group photo, from left: Eldece Clarke, Ministry of Tourism & Aviation Senior Manager; Reginald Saunders, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism & Aviation; Deandre Ayton, Professional Basketball player for the Phoenix Suns; Timothy Munnings, Director of Sports; and Quinton Brennen, General Manager, National Sports Authority (NSA).


(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs)

Encouragement for Professional Boxer Amron Sands

Bahamian Heavyweight boxer Amron Sands went into his fight with an 11 win 0 loss record (9 KO), against Columbian undefeated brawler, Alexis Garcia.  But suffered the first loss of his career in the third round of the match by TKO on Friday.

Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture, Iram Lewis extended his support and thanks to Sands who fought on the undercard, despite the loss.

Lewis said he was honoured to have chat with Amron prior to the fight to assure him of his unwavering support despite the outcome of the fight.

“Experiencing a loss in competition is a part of growth and undoubtedly he will/must learn from the experience and come back stronger, faster and better than before.

“Muhammed Ali has lost. Mike Tyson has lost. But both remained among some of the most feared fighters of the sport.”

“Continue to train, continue to prepare and we will continue to support you,” Lewis said.

Junkanoo Cancellation Disappoints Shell Saxons

The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture does not expect a relaunch of Junkanoo activities until Spring 2021.

The ministry says the Ministry of Health advised that it cannot “lend support to the hosting of this cultural activity at this time,” as the COVID-19 cases climb.

The ministry says it engaged in meetings with Prime Minister Hubert Minnis and Junkanoo stakeholders to consider the best alternatives for celebrating the the major cultural event.

“Guided by the Ministry of Health, the ministry, supported by the National Junkanoo Committee, and partnership with the Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence (JCNP) together with the wider Junkanoo Community throughout the islands of The Bahamas stand unified in strategizing a strategic plan to relaunch physical Junkanoo activities commencing Spring, 2021,” a press statement says.

The ministry says it expects the pandemic to continue up to the end of 2021, and is erring on the side of caution.

“Despite our country’s active management of the spread of COVID-19, many businesses are struggling to rebound, the hotel industry and the wider tourism sector virtually remain at a stand-still.”

Shell Saxons Superstars Co-chair Kendenique Campbell-Moss told the Tribune, given the pandemic, her group had no other choice but to conform to the changes this year.

“The utmost feeling among us is a profound sense of loss because in some instances Junkanoo accounts for 100 percent satisfaction. It is not just women and men coming together, this is a life that we live and in some instance people have made their livelihood around Junkanoo.

“We are very disheartened but we understand that based now on what’s happening in the country, this is a necessary precaution that we must take. We pray that next year something different would happen and we will get on Bay Street and rush because Junkanoo is the greatest show on earth.”

Campbell-Moss said  all of her group’s planning have come to an end.

While the ministry has praised its new initiative, ‘Virtual Junkanoo Presentations’ which it says have received high commendations from virtual spectators, locally and internationally, Campbell-Moss said,  “That’s not what Junkanoo is. The essence of Junkanoo is not virtual, it’s not seen on a computer screen. It’s getting to Bay Street, to George Street, lining up at the entry point and seeing your comrades and saying ‘bey, this what you bring to Bay Street, this how y’all look?’

“It’s about waiting for fanfare and saying ‘boy y’all sound stink.’ Or if you see someone breaking down you say ‘help that bey so this don’t fall apart’. That is Junkanoo, not no virtual, 60-odd people dancing, that’s not it. This is a mammoth disappointment for us. Can you imagine that the Saxons have not won in almost seven years? For us to be double champions, we were looking forward to everything.