During the Senior Junkanoo Seed Funding Presentation, on September 20, 2018, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Lanisha T. Rolle thanked the Junkanoo leaders, Junkanooers and Junkanoo fans who continued to ensure that The Bahamas preserves its identity and history through “this rich cultural experience called Junkanoo.” “Our ancestors celebrated the art of Junkanoo, long before our Independence,” Minister Rolle noted at the event held at her Ministry’s University Drive Head Office, stating it is a “tradition ingrained in the hearts, minds, and souls of our people. It tells the story of who we were, how far we’ve come, and who we are today.” She added: “Junkanoo is our tradition: it is an expression that is unique to Bahamians. To my mind, it is the essence of our intellectual expression and, thus, it can never be taken away.” Among those present for the presentation were: Rhoda Jackson, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture (MOYSC) Acting Permanent Secretary; Darron Turnquest, Acting MOYSC Deputy Permanent Secretary and Director of Youth; Rowena Poitier-Sutherland, Director of Culture; Ellery Deveaux, Cultural Affairs Officer and Senior Junkanoo Co-ordinator; Dr. Dwight Marshall and Kishlane O’Brien, Co-Chairs of the National Junkanoo Committee; Silbert Ferguson, Chairman of the Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence; Junkanoo partners and special guests.
Minister Rolle noted that the current year’s seed funding distribution totals $648,000.00 to be distributed to 117 groups. “I am told, that this is the earliest distribution of the seed funding exercise in history,” she noted; “and, I dare say, it is as a result of the teamwork of my Ministry, and you, our partners. “The purpose behind it all is for us to make it a great day,” she added. “If we get a good start, we increase our chances of making it a great finish.” Minister Rolle said that her Ministry, in particular, the Division of Culture, was pleased to present to the various junkanoo groups the government’s seed funding for the annual senior Junkanoo parades throughout the country. “Indeed, this government is committed to ensuring the preservation, success, and growth of our cultural product and we believe that the spirit and ideals of Junkanoo, its rhythms, and sounds are at the heartbeat of who we are and what we do,” she said. Minister Rolle noted that the entire month of December is celebrated as Cultural Month. A host of activities have been planned inclusive of the tree lighting ceremony downtown Nassau; the Junkanoo Legends Induction Ceremony and a number of other activities throughout the Family Islands, she added. “We do look forward to the full support of our partners, spectators and participants,” Minister Rolle said. “Tickets for the boxing day parade will go on sale at 12 noon on Saturday 17th November 2018. We encourage you to get your tickets early.”
“Junkanoo is our identity and our uniting force: it is an indisputable fact that Junkanoo, perhaps more than any other activity, is what distinguishes us as Bahamians,” Minister Rolle said. “We can be anywhere in the world and, once we hear the Junkanoo sound or see the Junkanoo dance, one cannot deny, the rising of the Junkanoo spirit.” Minister Rolle said that, amazingly, Bahamian Junkanoo has the ability to transcend political landscapes, break-through religious barriers, engage a wide cross-section of people, inspire the country’s Caribbean neighbors, entertain visitors, and unite each and every Bahamian. She said: “Junkanoo is our cultural signature: incorporating art, dance, drama and our original Bahamian music. Like no other discipline or sport, Junkanoo brings together our collective artistic expression to communicate where we were born and how we were raised – from our Long Island goat-skin drums to our native cowbells, our urban whistles, our community horns, and wind instruments, our ‘Over-the-Hill’ crepe paper, our soda box cardboards and our old pieces of Guardian and Tribune newspapers.” Minister Rolle noted that she intended to tour Junkanoo shacks and looked forward to Junkanoo stakeholders “holding the hands of our youth.” With a smile for the Junkanoo stakeholders present, Minister Rolle said: “No one is going to dance like us; no one is going to shout like us; no one is going to make it happen for us; so let us go out, let’s work together, let’s have a great time, let’s make it a great day … even though in the end, one of you will traditionally shout, ‘Dey Rob Us!’.”