United in love of Bahamian culture, residents and visitors to Grand Bahama waited patiently, braving inclement weather, for the start of the Annual New Year’s Day Junkanoo Parade on Monday, January 2, 2017.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson traveled to Grand Bahama to officially open the parade, which Grand Bahama Junkanoo Committee (GBJC) Chairman Allyson Smith announced would surpass the success the cultural phenomenon has obtained in previous years.
Parade attendees had to endure an hour and a half delay in proceedings due to intervals of rain and increased winds that threatened to put a complete damper on the rush as well as the late arrival of Dr. Johnson.
However, Junkanoo lovers, cultural enthusiasts and visitors remained in place with umbrellas in hand and raincoats on to witness the brilliant costumes, sweet Junkanoo music and amazing choreographed dancers of the four ‘A’ Division Junkanoo Groups beginning with the New Life Classic Dancers, Super Star Rockers, Platinum Knights and the Swingers followed by ‘B’ Division Junkanoo Group Show Time then, the ‘C’ Division Junkanoo Groups Sting, Bush Whackers and fun group the Western Star Titans.
Grand Bahama Christian Council (GBCC) president, Rev. Peter Pinder prayed for the New Year’s Day Junkanoo Parade to be a success that would go without incident and that visitors and residents alike would appreciate the artistic talents of the Junkanooers, who do their absolute best to keep the iconic cultural identifier of The Bahamas alive and well.
He also prayed for the safety of all attendees of the Junkanoo parade, that fair judging practices would take place, vendors at the conclusion of the parade would have sold all their wares, the hard work of those behind the scenes would be recognized and appreciated, law enforcement officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force would continue doing a marvelous job in maintaining order, all Government officials would have enjoyed themselves and that everyone would have a healthy, happy, prosperous and Christ enriched new year.
Dr. Johnson wasted no time in opening the ceremony stating, “Happy New Year Grand Bahama; I know all of you are here patiently waiting for one thing tonight and that is to enjoy this year’s Junkanoo parade.
“I congratulate the organizers of the Annual Grand Bahama New Year’s Day Junkanoo Parade particularly the GBJC chaired by Allyson Smith and all the media houses reporting on this wonderful event, including the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas ZNS News, which is responsible for the live broadcast of the performances here tonight.
“Furthermore, I would like to thank Minister for Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville and Senator Tanisha Tynes along with the Members of Parliament (K. Peter Turnquest and Neko Grant) represented for coming together in support of Junkanoo.
“Humble apologies are extended to you all, as I have just gotten in on the flight after witnessing the fierce competition at the Junkanoo Parade in Nassau; we did like you here in Grand Bahama had to endure a like rain, sprinkle and spry but it did not stop the proceedings.
“Junkanoo is considered an extreme outdoor sport, beautiful, inspiring and culturally unique so no matter what, the parade went on and as everyone can see the groups here are ready to go, so let the show begin!
“Come on and show your support for the Junkanoo groups that are ready to rush the road,” said Dr. Johnson, who encouraged all to move, groove and become enraptured by the sweet sounds and sights of the Annual New Year’s Day Junkanoo Parade.
Published Tuesday, January 3, 2017