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.