THE JUNKANOO MESS
Senator Fred Mitchell with the Leader of the Platinum Knights Junkanoo Group in Freeport Thomas Curry.
Well Junkanoo is over. The litany of complaints abound as usual. The art of Junkanoo has come a long way since the time of newspaper and sponge for costumes. This is fine art. You have to credit the late Winston “Gus” Cooper, Percy “Vola” Francis of the Saxons and the Burnside Brothers amongst others for the conversion of this Christmas festival of old to the national past time and preoccupation. It dominates the cultural scene. It used to be a sport of participatory festival for the general public but the days of that seem long gone. Now it takes months to prepare. It takes tens of thousands of dollars. It requires professionals for the uninitiated to get a costume.
However, it seems that if you want your political bona fides you have to be involved somehow in Junkanoo. You have to thank Sir Lynden Pindling for that. He rushed with a scrap gang called the Pigs. Perry Christie during his time became synonymous with the Valley Boys group. Now Hubert Minnis is connected at the hip to the Saxons.
Mr. Minnis made the comment when asked a serious question that he was more worried about whether the Saxons were going to win Junkanoo than some other national issue. That caused an uproar. The result is when the Saxons came 5th, the country went crazy sticking their finger in his face, figuratively speaking.
We dealt with the political issues surrounding Junkanoo last week. This week we want to talk about its organization and its judging.
First the Platinum Knights in Freeport were far superior to any of the groups that presented. However, despite winning in every category, they lost the Freeport parade overall because of deductions by way of penalties. They lost the parade and came third overall. This was a point of contention. Judging. How do you get a fair result?
In Nassau, there is always someone who claims that the Judges are cheating for the other side. “Dey rob us” is the favourite expression.
The Original Congos of Fox Hill once again came second to the Colours group in B category. They are wondering after something like 14 straight losses what on earth they can do to win the parade.
Then you have the pauses in the parade. The Freeport parade seems to get it right. Maybe because it’s smaller. But it moves like clockwork. In Nassau, it drags. People can’t stand the long waits in between. The music and performances are fine when they come but the parade simply takes too long.
There is also an obsession with the weather. It appears that a drop of rain and wind will ruin the parade and cause it to be postponed at the drop of a hat. The New Year’ s parade was postponed to a 2 a m start because of the threat of weather which turned out to be non-existent.
The talk is now that maybe Junkanoo should be put off to the Majority Rule Holiday on 10th January instead of New Year’s Day.
Point we make here is that Julian Believe started something to make the gaps closer by performance of his song Down On Bay. There needs to be work on the parade. Time to bring in a professional parade manager. Trouble is the Junkanoo crowd that runs the parade are some of the most troublesome and quarrelsome people you have ever met.
But something needs to be done, to make the festival, the national past time more enjoyable as a spectator cultural event.
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