The Ministry of Culture, along with key stakeholders, announced that they have collectively decided to move forward with a “carnival week” approach allowing various groups to host separate road parades.
Hon Dwayne Seymour, JP, MLA said at the announcement, “As Minister of Culture, I want to first share with the public how near and dear this event is to my heart and how important it is to deliver it in the best way possible for the people of the Cayman Islands and to those who visit to enjoy it with us.
I’d also like to reiterate the amount of hard work that has gone into making this decision. We have sat through many hours of meetings with the purpose of discussing decisions about how Cayman Carnival could best model from the successes of regional partners in hosting a unified carnival and creating a bar none experience.
This was not an easy task and required many proposals and counter-proposals with stakeholders and vested parties; for which I am truly grateful. I also later in the process requested the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) to play a more active role in handling further negotiations with all groups. CNCF then formed a carnival steering committee (consisting of representatives from each camp) to ensure we were satisfied that an agreement with all parties could be reached. Today I am happy with those results.”
Through many submissions the Ministry had also taken into consideration the following regarding the dates chosen:
• the first weekend of May clashed with the Bahamas Carnival and would leave Cayman Carnival competing for the same international tourism dollar
• the second weekend in May fell on Mother’s day and generally did not support travel
• the third weekend conflicted with our sister islands event, Braccanal Carnival, and did not facilitate residents and tourists being able to participate in both events.
During the discussions the long weekend in June was also explored however, this was met with concerns as this is the Queen’s birthday weekend and George Town would be closed down for the annual parade.
“We are satisfied with the Government's agreement to hold Junior Batabano on the first weekend of May, with the main Batabano parade on the second weekend of May. I thank Minister Seymour, the Ministry of Culture, CNCF and everyone else who played a critical role in helping come to this decision to move forward,” remarked Ms Donna Myrie-Stephen, Batabano Chairperson.
“All the stakeholders have a vested interest in ensuring that Cayman’s carnival experience and its events attract the widest possible support from visitors and locals and continue to grow our islands’ Carnival Tourism product. I believe that these changes to the schedule have the potential to position Cayman as an attractive carnival destination within the region,” added Brent McLean Chairman of Caymas.
Ms Ventisha Conolly, Braccanal Committee member also remarked, “We are pleased with all the efforts that have helped bring us to a conclusion that facilitates residents and tourists being able to participate in both events. We look forward to a great turn-out on the Brac.”
The Ministry and the National Cultural Foundation will continue to listen to stakeholders on an annual basis and make adjustments as necessary and thank all parties for their submissions, communications and the healthy discussions that have led to this decision.
“The plan moving forward will consist of a unified Cayman Carnival (9 to 18 May 2020), which will comprise of an opening parade on 9 May (produced by the Batabano Committee), Brac parade on 16 May (produced by the Bracannal Committee) and closing parade on 18 May (produced by CayMAS). The parade routes and road closures will be channeled to RCIPS through CNCF and then shared with the public and businesses. There will also be a carnival calendar listing the events that each group will host, including those endorsed and funded by the Ministry. Members of the public may obtain these from CNCF as well,” stated Mrs Marcia Muttoo, Managing Director, CNCF.
“We all encourage the community to try to make these dates work and a success for the Cayman Islands. I am excited to say that the time to go fete is almost upon us. The public and visitors to our shores can expect the same energy, excitement and cultural immersion they have come to love. The line-up of festivities will continue to include all of our favorite highlights: musical contests, concerts by highly-sought after artists, local art and food and vibrant parades that come together in our soca-fueled celebration of life, culture and camaraderie,” said Minister Seymour.