At the 2018 Junkanoo Awards Dinner Banquet, at the British Colonial Hilton, on March 3, 2018, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Michael Pintard lauded the work of Junkanoo artists throughout The Bahamas, putting a special light on those who recently visited various Family Islands. “You are influencing communities throughout The Bahamas with your creativity,” Minister Pintard said at the event hosted by the Junkanoo Corporation New Providence Limited. He also highlighted a number of the takeaway points from the recent Junkanoo Conclave. “We decided at the Junkanoo Conclave several things,” he noted. “One, the government is, in fact, pumping more money into Junkanoo through the multi-purpose Junkanoo shacks. Two, over the course of the next few years, there will be allocations of land to a number of Junkanoo groups. Three, we are going to establish a Junkanoo Commission. Four, there will be a Junkanoo festival commencing in 2018.”
Minister Pintard noted that there have been Prime Ministers who lined up as part of Junkanoo groups and used that point as an illustration. “It does not matter how wealthy you are in The Bahamas,” Minister Pintard said. “It does not matter what position you hold in The Bahamas. When you get on Bay Street and you are beating the bass drum, or you are lickin’ the cowbell, or you are a free dancer, you are equal to every single person on that parade. “It doesn’t matter if you’re the Prime Minister. It doesn’t matter if you are a medical doctor or you are a plumber. It doesn’t matter if you are a custodian at one of the schools; there is no division among Bahamians. That is what Junkanoo has done for The Bahamas — it has placed the custodian alongside the Prime Minister and they are men just alike.”
Minister Pintard said that Junkanoo breaks down barriers in The Bahamas, which is needed throughout the society, at every level. He added that all Bahamians need to come together to meet the challenges that come their way. “Junkanoo sets an example for this country in a way that few other things does,” he pointed out. Minister Pintard said that the second thing Junkanoo does is create unity. “Imagine this: different forms of art find a way to work together to create one incredible performance,” Minister Pintard said. “So whether you are a builder, an architect, a visual artist, a dancer, a ‘paster’ — whatever your particular artistic skill is — you find a way to work together… and you create an incredible performance. You create ‘the greatest show on Earth’.
“Junkanooers, I want you to appreciate that if we are going to build an incredible country, the same kind of unity and cooperation you show bringing thousands of persons to Bay Street is the same kind of unity we need to build this Bahamas because, when the parade is over, I know you want safe communities to be in,” Minister Pintard added. “You want those that manage your resources in this country to do so properly. You want to make sure that your children coming out of school would rather come home than staying in the U.S., Canada, or the U.K. “So, one, you have broken down petitions. Two, you have created unity in this country; so it is an honor to be working with you,” Minister Pintard said. “We are going to have some exciting years — over the course of the next four years — and I am proud to be associated with men and women who have put The Bahamas on the map through the ‘greatest show on Earth’.”