The fabulous Taino Beach Junkanoo Carnival experience that residents and visitors of Grand Bahama had become accustomed to was considerably diluted this time around. This past Friday and Saturday, collectively, the event was a huge disappointment.
We can report that while the crowd participation on Saturday night was not terrible, the combined first and second night’s turnout was sub-par at best.
At some point, we expect to know the facts surrounding the decision that enabled an entity from New Providence to get the Bahamas National Festival Commission’s (BNFC) endorsement rather than local entertainment/management professionals, who did such a terrific job of organizing and coordinating this island’s Junkanoo Carnival product at Taino Beach in 2015 and 2016.
Reports allege that the lead organization, named Titus Entertainment Group, is connected to a relative, or relatives of a noted political figure. Upon hearing that Grand Bahamians had been left out of the loop regarding the lead role in this year’s version of the National Junkanoo Carnival, we asked questions. We approached the BNFC and pointed out that such a development would not sit right with Grand Bahamians.
We were told that bids went out and the decision had been made.
Why was it necessary to open the bidding for an event in Grand Bahama, outside of the island?
Isn’t it the desire of Prime Minister Perry Christie and Minister for Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville to afford the island and its residents, opportunities to boost the economy of Grand Bahama?
With Grand Bahamians leading the way, Junkanoo Carnival at Taino Beach exceeded expectations and was fashioned into a signature island event. Indeed, the organizing and management of our Junkanoo Carnival version was superior to what went on in New Providence.
Yet, the powers that be, amazingly did not recognize that nothing was broken. There was no need to fix our concept for Junkanoo Carnival. There was just a need for the BNFC to appreciate professionalism, dedication, and spirit of togetherness that the GB organizers of Junkanoo Carnival in 2015 and 2016 inspired.
The 2017 effort gets a failing grade because either the lead organizers overlooked or didn’t have the wherewithal to address important aspects.
Advertisements were very limited. Many residents knew nothing of the event. All of the intangibles which connect Grand Bahamians, the lead organizers missed. An excellent template was in place.
This time around, something different was tried.
It didn’t work.
Tickets were priced at $20.00 rather than $10.00, as was the cost in 2015 and 2016. On top of that, The Freeport News was told of patrons being informed that if they left the Junkanoo Carnival ground, upon returning another fee would be necessary.
On Friday night vendors’ hopes were dashed. The handwriting was on the wall when at 7 p.m., attendance was sparse. By 10 p.m., nothing much had changed. It was a dismal night for the vendors.
We know there will be attempts to deflect the ineptitude of the lead organizers and the BNFC and point the finger of blame at Grand Bahamians. There are those who don’t really want Grand Bahama in the Junkanoo Carnival mix.
The truth is, that the 2017 event was poorly planned and organized.