During the Ceremony for the Junior Junkanoo Parades 2018-2019 Seed Monies Presentation, on November 12, 2018, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Lanisha Rolle, said that Junkanoo is the conduit through which the creativity of the Bahamian is showcased, the story of the nation’s heritage is told, and the imagination of its people is made manifest to the world.
“The Junior Junkanoo Parades of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas were established in 1988. And more than a parade, Junior Junkanoo is a living and breathing cultural experience which has developed into a vibrant cultural teaching and learning program that serves a multi-purpose,” Minister Rolle said, at the event held at her Ministry’s head office, on University Drive. Among those present included Acting Permanent Secretary Rhoda Jackson; Deputy Director of the Division of Culture Dereka Deleveaux-Grant; Senior Education Officer Jennifer Miller (Performing Arts, Ministry of Education); General Manager of Sol Petroleum, Ltd., Keith Glinton and Sol Petroleum representatives; National Junkanoo Committee Co-Chair Kishlane O’Brien; Coordinator of Junior Junkanoo Henry Higgins; Percy “Vola” Francis; other government officials, Ministry staff members and special guests.
Minister Rolle noted that Junior Junkanoo “educates the ‘next’ generation of our most spirited cultural heritage exhibited in what is known as Junkanoo”. “Secondly, it serves to allow the younger generation to display their talents and creativity,” she added. “Tied directly with the local school system, the program is further structured to ensure that students have the opportunity for personal development through their engagement in healthy competition at the national junior level and, most significantly, the program serves as a feeder system for the senior Junkanoo groups, to secure the consistent growth and development of the Junkanoo product and to preserve in the annals of history the combination of those artistic expressions that best defines our cultural identity.” Minister Rolle announced that the seed funding to all schools registered to participate in the Junior Junkanoo Parade 2018-2019 is $350,000.00 “I am pleased to advise that seed funding is being forwarded to administrators, district superintendents and our Ministry Family Island coordinators for Family Island schools participating in junior Junkanoo parades on their respective islands,” Minister Rolle said.
Minster Rolle also lauded the partnership with the Ministry of Education and Sol Petroleum, Ltd. — the title sponsor for Junior Junkanoo. Minister Rolle stated that it was her hope that the recently-established Cultural and Education committee, will work with “determined haste” to submit their recommendations of a viable and sustainable long-term educational program and curriculum that will strategically target the cultural education of the nation’s students. “With this renewed focus, on the skills, techniques, resources, the disciplinary and organizational components required to create this cultural event we seek to ensure that Junkanoo [develops] even further,” Minister Rolle said. “It will not only intrigue local onlookers but fascinate the world through the uniqueness of the Bahamian inspired artists and artisans and cultural expressionists.” Minister Rolle pointed out that, based on the feedback from stakeholders, chief among them being the partners in the educational sector, the Ministry had advised that junior Junkanoo would best be held on a date and time that does not conflict with the established examination calendar; and, according to the senior Junkanoo leaders, it would be more effective, if held at a time after the senior parades in December to allow them the opportunity to be involved in the necessary mentoring process during the juniors’ preparation period. “Thus, the date as recommended for this year’s Junior Junkanoo Parade is Thursday, 31st January, 2019,” she said.
Minister Rolle referenced the fact that the year before, the coordinators for the first time hosted the parade on Arawak Cay. “Based on the many challenges with that venue, particularly in terms of logistics, area structural design and the complications presented by the parade’s close proximity to the sea, there has been an overwhelming cry and support for its return to Bay Street,” she said. “To this end, the parade will commence at 6:00p.m. With the pre-schools leading the way. I am advised that last year the junior parade began on time, the children were on key and spectators and participants alike enjoyed a wonderful time together,” she added. As it relates to the New Providence parade, Minister Rolle noted that, as of that date, 18 schools were registered, two of which will be from the Family Islands – the South Andros district and Tarpum Bay Primary. “Moreover, the ministry has already purchased start-up materials in bulk, which are now being distributed to all participating schools in New Providence and the Family Islands,” she added. Minister Rolle announced that junior Junkanoo parades will be held on Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera, South Andros, San Salvador, and Cat Island – after a two-year break – and, for the first time, on Acklins, Mayaguana and Inagua. She said: “I would like to extend a special welcome to newcomers Jordan Prince William High School and First Step Academy who have come on board and wish them and the new islands mentioned all the very best on this their maiden voyage. To all returning schools, we only ask that you all give your very best – or, as they say ‘Leave it all on Bay’.”
Minister Rolle said that she would like to especially thank lifelong title sponsor Sol Petroleum for their continued investment in the children of The Bahamas and in an event necessary for the preservation of Bahamian culture. She also made special mention that their investment stems back to year before the inception of the junior Junkanoo parades in 1988. “Sol Petroleum reassured me just moments ago, that they remain committed to supporting junior Junkanoo and we are, indeed, thankful,” she said. Minister Rolle extended gratitude and public recognition to the school principals, teachers and Junkanoo coordinators in preparing students for the parades, in both public and private schools. “Being ever so mindful of the time, patience, dedication and extremely hard work necessary to prepare schools for these parades,” she said. “And to our parents, the number one fans, and to the individual sponsors of the participants, our nation says thanks to you.” Minister Rolle expressed gratitude to the Ministry of National Security and, in particular, the officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, who “through their valiant efforts continue to ensure the parades are adequately secured and our little darlings and onlookers are kept safe”. “Indeed, we are aware that the security and safety of our children is a most important factor to all in attendance,” she added. Minister Rolle pointed out that the parade will be launched under the theme ‘Education is the Key.’ She stated: “With this in mind, I will end these remarks by commending to the coordinating team of this year’s Junior Junkanoo Parades, the same words as I have with the seniors. “The year 2018/2019 and its junior Junkanoo parades is a season we have not seen before, and it is indeed a season, a display, a show, an event, we will never see again. So let us in the spirit of unity and patriotism, come together with one common goal. Ladies and gentlemen, Junkanooers, Junior Junkanooers, let us have a great time, and everyone enjoy a great day. “