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Junkanoo Carnival Activities Get Started on Grand Bahama
By Robyn Adderley, BIS
Apr 10, 2015 - 5:47:24 AM

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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 Thursday.

Activities have already begun in various communities around the island, creating hype for the inaugural festival to be held at Taino Beach on 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 place."

By 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 everyone.


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