Government clamps down on two Carnivals.
Starting next year there will only be one national carnival. It brings an end to separate events for Batabano and CayMAS.
In a media statement issued on the eve of Batabano on Friday (3 May) Government said the decision to combine the events was shared with respective organizers Thursday (2 May.) It will be held the second weekend in May going forward.
It said the national plan reflects discussions government and stakeholders started last year.
Those talks were aimed at addressing public concerns following the split in 2016 between Batabano and Swanky International (CayMAS).
Under the new plan, Batabano will lead off the national Carnival and will be followed by CayMAS on the same day of the new national parade.
Both events will follow the same route. At the end of the route, the processions will culminate in separate parties.
Leading up to the adult street parade, officials say, Batabano and CayMAS will still host separate parties, J’ouverts, song competitions, etc. In addition, the Batabano-organised Junior Carnival on Grand Cayman will take place on the first weekend in May.
As for Bracannal, that is going to remain on Discovery Day weekend.
Officials said they are committed to continuing dialogue with stakeholders until plans for Carnival season 2020 are finalized.
The release also pointed out that responsibility for all public sector financial contributions/grants to Carnivals shift from the Ministry and Department of Tourism to the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF).
“Plans are for Government to contribute to both Batabano and CayMAS through comparable annual grants and purchase agreements,” it added.
Minister for Culture, Hon. Dwayne Seymour, explained that CNCF’s scope of activities includes the distribution of grants to support the development of local talent, including by means of festivals, exhibitions, pageants, parades, etc.
“Working through CNCF, which has technical expertise in the field, the ministry responsible for culture is pleased to take this opportunity to embed the role of carnivals in local culture. The ministry and its statutory authorities will continue to liaise with our tourism-focused colleagues on carnivals and other aspects of cultural tourism,” he said.
We reached out to CayMAS Carnival chairman Wayne Kirkconnell for comment on government’s decision.
He said a statement will be released on Tuesday 7 May, until then they will not be saying anything.
We also reached out to the Batabano committee for comment, we are yet to hear back.
Read the full statement: