(CMR) In light of a recent statement from CayMas on Cayman Marl Road the Ministry of Culture has indicated it will only approve one weekend for Carnival in 2020.
However, CMR sources indicate this is likely to be the start of a legal battle to be decided through the court as critics point out the minister is conflicted because of a family member having ties to a competing carnival band.
The Ministry of Culture has reiterated today (Tuesday, 1 October 2019) that the Government approved weekend for Grand Cayman Carnival is the second week of May (Saturday, 9 May 2020).
After lengthy deliberations, the Government, earlier this year, decided that the most suitable schedule for Cayman Islands carnivals would be: to hold junior carnival on the first weekend in May; Grand Cayman adult carnival (both Batabano and CayMas parades) to run over the second weekend in May; and Braccanal, the Cayman Brac carnival, on the third weekend in May 2020.
Government initially proposed the simultaneous staging of the two carnivals for a number of reasons. Key among these was to avoid the cumulative loss of business experienced by Grand Cayman merchants in the Seven Mile Beach area associated with road closures on two consecutive weekends. Road closures also create a strain on police resources.
Another aim was to allow Braccanal to be held on a weekend during which no similar events would take place on Grand Cayman.
While Government appreciates the dynamic professionalism and cultural contributions of all Carnival mas bands, it feels compelled to maintain its support for the combined carnival (adult) parade.
â€śWe remain open to constructive dialogue with all carnival organisers. At the same time our position is that any developments must take place within the framework of one Cayman Carnival. The arrangements that all parties agreed following a year of discussions still offer the best way forward for all stakeholders. It also provides a sustainable foundation for the continued growth of local carnivalsâ€ť, comments Culture Minister Dwayne Seymour, adding â€śOur larger Caribbean neighbours also have one Carnival.â€ť
Despite this, the question remains – Can the government force an NPO to follow it's directive in light of the fact that a precedent has already been set allowing two separate carnival events. During the recent interview, it was made clear that they do not receive any substantial funding from the government.
CMR sources close to the matter have also indicated that the ability to have a parade is a matter for the police to decide and not one for political interference. In fact, it has been suggested that the government cannot dictate what the police must do provide an applicant meets all of the requirements.