The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) is pleased to support the continued and valued tradition of Junkanoo in Grand Bahama.
“Junkanoo for Bahamians is the ultimate national symbol,” stated Nicolette Bethel, Chair of Social Sciences, University of the Bahamas (UB) in a paper she wrote on the subject. “A street festival of West African origin held at Christmastime, it represents poverty and wealth, discipline and rebellion, competition and cooperation, creative genius and physical prowess.”
In this post-hurricane time in Grand Bahama, many Bahamians will be eager for the opportunity to take a break from repair and restoration and watch or join in on the annual Junkanoo celebrations held in Freeport. As a long-time sponsor of Junkanoo, the GBPA knew that this year was going to be a struggle for all the Junkanoo teams, who not only had to create their costumes and develop their routines but were also recovering personally from storm damage.
“Junkanoo is the heartbeat of our nation,” said GBPA President Ian Rolle. “Our island’s groups are not only having to deal with personal or work struggles from flood damage, but many of their shacks went underwater too, damaging much of their supplies for this year’s event. We are very proud to support these artists and to increase what we had planned to donate to them. I for one will be there on hand to feel that beat and rush, and we encourage everyone to do the same!”
Recipients of assistance were, for the larger groups: Kingdom Culture Junkanoo Group, Superstar Rockers Junkanoo Group, Swingers Junkanoo Group, Kingdom Ambassadors “Spartans” Junkanoo Group, Platinum Knights Junkanoo Group as well as G. B. Asgard’s Junkanoo Group and Showtime Junkanoo Group, two of the smaller teams. This year’s event will take place on January 1st on East Mall drive starting at 6:00 PM and ending at midnight. Ticket information will be announced at a later date.
“The sponsorship today was greatly needed,” said Thomas Curry, Platinum Knights Group Leader. “We need many hands to help us get this year’s parade on the road, and our people need this cultural event, particularly those who have suffered so much. It’s a great time to forget all that and celebrate what and who we are – proud Bahamians!”
In addition to the donation from the GBPA, it was announced that Lady Henrietta St. George will donate funds personally to the teams. “Lady H, was very disappointed to hear that Junkanoo might not have happened this year due to damage and funding shortfall,” said Sarah St. George, GBPA Acting Chairman. “She knew we were set to help today, and sent us a message that she will add a personal contribution to the funds given today.”
With this great news, it is hoped that many Grand Bahamians will come out to support their hometown Junkanoo, and the artists who are going on despite the wrath of Dorian. “We are working on costumes, dances, and bands now, and all able hands are needed to make it happen,” said Curry. “We’ll go on no matter what, proud and resilient like Grand Bahama itself.”