Representatives of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival made a presentation at the Rotary Club of Freeport's monthly meeting at Ruby Swiss Restaurant on Thursday. Shown from left are: Xaviera Cephas; Queenie Stubbs, President of Rotary Club of Freeport; Constance McDonald, Rotary Club of Freeport; Ginger Moxey, Consultant to Bahamas National Festival Commission; the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, Minister for Grand Bahama; and Jaquian Williams.
(BIS Photo/Vandyke Hepburn)
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- Activities
surrounding Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival are expected to generate a 3-1 return on
the initial investment, said Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael
Darville, during the monthly meeting of the Rotary Club of Freeport on
Activities have already begun in various communities
around the island, creating hype for the inaugural festival to be held at Taino
April 17 and 18 with semi finals, and the grand festival, Road Fever,
scheduled for Nassau on May, 9.
According to Minister Darville, "We have
been dying in Grand Bahama for a signature event. We have done many surveys on
guests who have been in and out of Grand Bahama and they keep telling us that
activities are one of the main things lacking."
Government, he said, is very excited about
this new ‘signature event’. The research has been done and it is realized that
this festival will not conflict with larger festivals around the world.
"It's at a time when our domestic tourism and our international guests is
very low. We are convinced, based on research that has come back to us, that
this event for Grand Bahama in years to come will create the critical mass we
need with tourists in and out. We feel that in short order, we will definitely
get more heads in beds."
Minister Darville expressed thanks to Balearia
and Grand Celebration as partners in tourism.
He said “we're talking about additional rooms coming to the island of
Grand Bahama. And that's really good for us, because with that partnership, we
believe that will mean in excess of a thousand additional rooms with guests
coming to our island to experience this awesome festival that is about to take
Saturday, said the Minister, the island
should begin to see signs that the government is serious about this festival,
as the island will begin to be draped in preparation for the events with the
assistance and partnership of Grand Bahama Power.
Minister Darville said Domestic Tourism is
key and big business: It is believed that people will come from many of the
Family Islands, and Grand Bahama will be full.
Mrs. Ginger Moxey, consultant to Bahamas
National Festival Commission, during her address to Rotarians said
"Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival was created in order to market Junkanoo and
Bahamian arts and culture to the world, rebrand the country as a viable
entertainment and cultural destination, while simultaneously creating a
profitable industry from which all Bahamians can benefit."
She said that people are benefitting from BJC
(Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival) through employment, making it good for the people,
the island and the country.
"The reality is our people are
benefitting from Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. It is impacting our local economy.
"My greatest moments, during this entire
experience, is the fact that I can walk into the production room and see so
many formally unemployed Junkanooers who are now earning a living through the
production of costumes for Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival."
She said that when the Bahamas Festival
Commission initially visited Grand Bahama to discuss the activities of BJC, it
was thought that a group from the island would travel to Nassau for the
festivities there. This, she continued, did not sit well with those from Grand
Bahama as there was no economic impact for the island. From this, a petition
was made for Grand Bahama's own weekend of activities, hence the weekend of
April 17 to 18.
It is through corporate sponsorship that it
is all coming together from individuals and companies such as: BTC, Peter Hunt
of Port Lucaya Marketplace, Mario Donato, The Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board,
PharmaChem Technologies, Statoil, Freeport Harbour Company, Freeport Container
Port, Grand Bahama Airport Company, Grand Bahama Power Company, Grand Bahama
Shipyard Ltd., Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Company Ltd., Burn's House,
Agave, Livity, The Compound, and Sippers Restaurant & Bar.
Encouraging the entire Grand Bahama community
to be a part of the experience, Mrs. Moxey says there will be something for