(CMR) On the heel of the 35th Batabano Carnival this weekend the Cayman Islands government has announced that beginning next year there will only be a single national carnival and they are taking the charge to bring the two previously fractured carnivals together.
After announcing their plans at a meeting yesterday to the organizations and stakeholders of Batabano and Caymas; they issued a press statement today. There is no word yet on how well the news was received by the organizers.
Plans are that Government will combine the competing Batabano and CayMas carnivals to take place on the second weekend in May 2020. The decision was made by a working group led by the Ministry of Health, Environment, Culture and Housing along with representatives from the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism and Transport.
The decision was made after the split in 2016 between Batabano and Swanky International (CayMAS). The subsequent friction saw the two non-profits holding carnivals within a week of each other this year and many irrate masqueraders.
The decision to have government step in also appears to have been fueled by commercial complaints; noting that:
“Since the period of separation began Government has received several complaints ranging from perception of the ‘unnecessary’ separation of carnivals in a small island, to West Bay Road and Seven Mile Beach vendors and hotels protesting disruptions to business caused by road closures on consecutive weekends.”
The new proposed route will seek to minimize traffic interruptions and prevent businesses from having to close more than once.
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.
Funding for the events will also be moved from the Ministry and Department of Tourism to the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF), under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture. Government will offer financial assistance to both through annual grants and purchase agreements.
One reveler said:
“All government did was say “we are only closing the road once – the second weekend in May. If you want to hold your carnival in Grand Cayman, this is when you’ll have to do it” So essentially, both entities are still going to operate separately – Batabano and CayMAS. Bands will register with one of the two. That is the current plan because the two cannot come to a consensus. Which is why government is basically using the tactic of locking them together in a room (one weekend) to sort their shit out”