The heart of George Town came to life on Saturday January 28th as the 40th anniversary of Cayman’s National Carnival, Cayman Carnival Batabano, was officially launched and celebrated.
The extended Batabano week begins with Junior Batabano on April 22th. and runs through May 7th with J’ouvert April 29th, Steel Pan on Wednesday May 3rd, an International Costume Showcase on Thursday May 4th, Friday Night Fete on May 5th, and the 40th anniversary Grand Costume Parade on Saturday May 6th.
Minister for Tourism and Transport, the Hon. Kenneth Bryan, attended the event and congratulated the organization on its 40th anniversary. “As the Minister for Tourism and Entertainment I have already given my commitment that we will be a major sponsor again this year for Batabano, so I’m really looking forward to it,” he stated. “We went through a whole lot since the pandemic and we want to get our entertainment back to where it once was, lively and robust.” The Minister added that he is also looking forward to being in a Batabano shirt in the parade this year.
Acting Minister for Culture & Heritage, Mr. Isaac Rankine, was also in attendance at the carnival’s launch event, and stated: “It is important that we are able to support initiatives that highlight our customs.”
In her address, Batabano Chairperson Donna Myrie spoke about her first Batabano experiences as well as her first carnival experiences abroad when she attended Carnival in Trinidad in 1981 as Miss Cayman Islands, having been invited by the then Miss Trinidad and Tobago, Rachel Thomas. “I was so inspired by the camaraderie, joy, togetherness and economic opportunities that I witnessed at that carnival, and it shaped my vision and ultimately that of the Cayman Carnival Batabano Board, to include everyone residing in the Cayman Islands, all nationalities, in a series of events that provide a cultural celebration, and economic benefits, for our islands, now and for the future.”
Mrs. Myrie said the theme therefore for this year’s Batabano parade is once again “All Nations, One Celebration”. As such, Caymanians and residents from all nations represented in the Cayman community are invited to rally together and register groups and organisations to be part of this 40th anniversary parade. The parade registration fee is being waived this year.
In addition to masquerade bands and groups entering the parade, she said local businesses and organizations are invited to also enter a float in the parade this year under the theme “Las Tortugas” in honour of turtle nesting season starting in May annually.
As part of the celebration of 40 years of Batabano, at the launch event the carnival’s Board of Directors also recognized longstanding sponsors, mas bands, and supporters. Those included:
• Ms. Reba Dilbert for years of support and continuous participation in Cayman Carnival Batabano.
• The Cayman Islands Government for its continued support and endorsement of Cayman Carnival Batabano
• Party Animals for being the longest local participating Mas Band that exemplifies the spirit of Batabano.
• Michael Lemay for his contribution to steelpan in the Cayman Islands
• Jacques Scott for its long-standing sponsorship
• Sharmee McField for the spirit of volunteerism
• Cayman Airways – Long-standing supporter
• Local Carnival for the newest emerging Mas Band for Cayman Carnival Batabano, with all costumes designed and made in Cayman.
Led by Master of Ceremonies, Sheena Hurlstone, the launch event’s entertainment included the group “Bollywood Dance Pulse” led by Haresh “Harry” Bhagwandas. Young dancers aged seven to fourteen lit up the red carpet with a lively dance that had the event attendees clapping along enthusiastically. Kiara Lemay, daughter of well-known local pannist Michael Lemay, treated the crowd to a rendition of many soca favourites. The entertainment continued with a samba performance from the dance duo of Yara Razo and Sergio Torres of Mas Azucar Entertainment.
The night culminated with a magnificent display - Fantasy – an array of majestic, stunning costumes worn by local models. These breathtaking costumes were designed by Panamanians Horacio Prado and Daniel Caballero. With more than forty- five years in the design field, Prado and Caballero have created elaborate costumes for international events. Ms. Griscela Ebanks will head up this VIP band of which costumes will be available for sale.
Persons and organisations interested in entering a masquerade band or float in Batabano’s 40th anniversary parade this year on May 6th, should email email@example.com or call Mrs. Myrie on 916-1740.
Learn more about Cayman Carnival Batabano at www.caymancarnival.com
24 Sep, 2019
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