Trinidadian soca songstress Destra Garcia proclaimed in her timeless hit ‘Fly’ that “is all about unity, togetherness, carnival time we love de jamming, all ah we collectively”.
In recent years, the unity of Cayman’s carnival scene has seen three distinct festivals populating the social calendar during the month of May: Batabano, Braccanal, and more recently, CayMas.
Revelers were given a choice of which of these carnivals to attend. Sponsors, too, were torn. And two consecutive weekends of jamming along West Bay Road, which meant roadblocks and diversions for the rest of the community trying to avoid the revelry.
Many questioned why two carnivals were needed on Grand Cayman, especially with the other competing with a smaller event on Cayman Brac. In an island of 60 thousand plus people, have both of these events led to the dilution of the experience.
Enter government to mediate and bring unity that the carnival experience is about. News came Friday that both Batabano and CayMas will come together in 2020 for one carnival experience. With the carnival experience growing in recent years, there is the potential for a greater kaleidoscope of colours and festivities in the spirit of Carnival.
Road users looking to avoid the traffic hiccups associated with a party on the island’s busiest roadway no longer have the headache of navigating the masses on consecutive weekends.
Let’s hope all parties will make this work collectively and displaying unity and togetherness that carnival is all about.
Having the Ministry of Culture, through the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, take over from the Ministry of Tourism makes sense because although one of the aims of the carnival experience is to attract visitors, this should ensure a certain “Caymanianness” is on display, especially with it now being called a national carnival.