Thursday, September 28, 2023
By JADE RUSSELL
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Ministry of Health and Wellness will play a greater role than usual in screening Junkanoo participants this year after some participants experienced severe health events in previous years, including one person who died.
“In recent years, we have sadly witnessed the loss of at least one festival participant during the parade, with several near cases reported,” said Timothy Munnings, deputy permanent secretary in the ministry. “Each life lost is a profound tragedy, and it is our collective responsibility to take proactive measures to ensure the safety and health of those who contribute to the beauty and festivity of Junkanoo.”
Mr Munnings said the ministry would conduct a mass health screening for the Junkanoo community.
His comment came after Youth, Sports & Culture Minister Mario Bowleg announced that $2.8m has been allocated for the Junkanoo events. He said $736,000 in seed money would be shared among groups.
S even category A groups will receive $30,000. Eighteen category B groups will get $15,000. Twenty-three D groups will receive $1,500. Twenty fun groups in Grand Bahama will get $2,000. Six category A groups in Grand Bahama will get $9,000, while four B groups will get $4,000.
“Last year after COVID, we had the biggest and safest Junkanoo family event we have ever experienced, particularly New Providence and the Family Islands,” Mr Bowleg said. “The standard of Junkanoo has elevated, and my ministry expects to continuously do the same with all stakeholders.”
Dion Miller, chairman of Junkanoo Corporation New Providence (JCNP), said there will be no major changes to the parades.
He said officials are in the final planning stages.
“We did have a flyer out in regards to judges where we are asking the public to do a civic duty, come and assist us, and be a judge in these parades,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kendenique Campbell-Moss, the Saxons Superstars’ public relations director, expressed gratitude for the seed funding, noting Junkanoo is expensive.
“You’re looking at spending anywhere any particular morning with an excess of at least $150,000, and that’s only on materials,” she said.