Post-Mortem of Inaugural Junkanoo Carnival

Go Lean Commentary

The Bahamas held their inaugural Junkanoo Carnival this past weekend. How did they do? How was the execution, compared to the planning? How much money was spent? How much return on investment was recouped?

Title: Carnival Fever: Organisers Hail A ‘Cultural Revolution’
By: Rashad Rolle, Tribune Staff Reporter
The Tribune – Daily Bahamian Newspaper. Posted 05/11/2015; retrieved from:

CU Blog - Post-Mortem of Junkanoo Carnival - Photo 1An “unprecedented” number of people descended upon Clifford Park, the Western Esplanade and Arawak Cay to participate in the inaugural Junkanoo Carnival events between Thursday and Saturday, completing what officials say will become a permanent fixture on the Bahamian calendar that will jumpstart the country’s cultural economy.

Officials yesterday said it was too early to say exactly how many attended or participated in the event or to assess its overall economic impact.

However, it’s estimated that at the event’s peak, more than 15,000 attended Friday’s Music Masters concert – the “largest gathering of people” ever in The Bahamas, some said.

Last week, Mr Major estimated that 50,000 to 100,000 people would attend Junkanoo Carnival adding that the festival could bring in $50m to $60m.

The event – filled with food and arts and crafts – was bolstered by a well-received mixture of Bahamian and Soca music.

There were “no major (disruptive or criminal) incidents” and “no complaints” about security, Police Assistant Commissioner (ACP) Leon Bethel told The Tribune.

The event, which had faced months of criticism, “proved naysayers wrong,” Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe told this newspaper.

He noted that the government, the National Festival Commission and workers in the Tourism and Youth, Sports and Culture Ministries have now put on two major, successful events within the span of a week, proving that the country must add a “label of excellence” to its brand.

“Certainly by all that developed,” he said, “it proved that carnival does have a place in the Bahamas and it can be a unique festival celebrated in a traditional Bahamian way with the inclusion of Junkanoo, highlighting the many talented Bahamians, whether it’s the entertainers, the artisans who produced costumes, the vendors out there with their fine cuisine or the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the entire national security team that worked to turn the place into a spectacular village.”

“While there were those who prayed for rain, the place poured and rained with people,” Mr Wilchcombe added. “We must appreciate that for all the naysayers and those who opposed to the event, the Bahamian people spoke. No one stopped anyone from saying what they wanted to say or from criticising the event, but we stayed focused.”

“Each success, be it the IAAF World Relays or be it carnival, it tells you that collectively we know who we are as a people and what we are capable of.

“We did not let the invited guests dominate the occasion,” he said, reflecting on a prior concern that the event would not be Bahamian-centric.

Mr Wilchcombe added that he wished Bahamian singers ‘KB’, who has flip-flopped on his support for the festival, and ‘Geno D’ had been involved.

“They are two of the best musicians in the country, but in the future I think we are going to see more and more Bahamian artists coming out. What you are now going to see is that Abaco, Eleuthera, Bimini all will want to be a part of this fantastic event.”

In an interview with The Tribune, Festival Commission Chairman Paul Major also said the event exceeded his expectations.

“The spirit of the event, the number of spectators, the number of participants, it was awesome,” he said. “I think we are witnessing a cultural revolution. It’s an economic stimulus.”

Nonetheless, some critics said that while the event seemed to be a big hit among Bahamians, it did not attract the number of tourists needed to provide a major economic boost to the economy as hoped.

Mr Wilchcombe, however, disputed this and said the event will only grow following its successful launch.

Asked about this, Mr Major said: “(That claim) is not true. We were busing tourists from east and west of this venue and continued doing so throughout the event.”

Still, he conceded that the event could have been promoted more internationally. He said the fact that a headliner was not finalised until weeks before the Music Masters concert affected promotional work.

“We will start marketing for the next event as early as September of this year. We may have to look for another venue. This venue may not be big enough to host next year’s event,” Mr Major added.

As for the security of the event, ACP Bethel said the conduct of those attending was “top notch.”

“We had no resistance in terms of security measures. The security was elaborate with many layers in and around the event and we worked hand in hand with the organisers, private security, (and) the Defence Force.”

VIDEO: 2015 Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Closes Out –

Published on May 10, 2015 – After three days of excitement the inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival came to an end with many already looking forward to next year. News coverage by local network ZNS TV.

It time now for a post-mortem analysis; borrowing this practice from medical science.

Medical science can teach us a lot. The purpose of the practice of medicine is to protect and promote health and wellness. But when there is a failure in this quest; when someone actually dies, another resource (medical doctor called a pathologist) adds value with a post-mortem examination (autopsy) — a highly specialized surgical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of death, evaluating any disease or injury.

This medical practice aligns with the process to forge change, as described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean (Page 9). The book performs a careful post-mortem analysis of the Caribbean’s eco-systems. The conclusion of that analysis was that the region is in crisis. But alas the book, serving as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), declares that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. The roadmap then provides for a turn-around, with turn-by-turn directions on how to elevate the economic, security and governing engines to make the homeland better to live, work and play.

One mission is to optimize events. The Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival is typical of the type of events that the roadmap projects to elevate the region’s societal engines. As detailed plans of this inaugural Carnival were published, this commentary applied analysis comparing the Go Lean baseline. Now that the event has transpired and Go Lean promoters were there to “observe and report”, these are now the lessons-learned; the post-mortem analysis:

  • Regionalism embraced … at lastCarnival is an international brand. One cannot expect to shove a Bahamian-first ethos into the Carnival brand; see Appendix B below. Many people in-country complained that international artists had to be brought in, and “cuddled”: Big Paychecks, amenities, etc; see Photo here of Trinidadian Soca Music Artist Marchel Montano. The Go Lean book/blogs calls for the embrace of the regional Single Market for all of the Caribbean.

CU Blog - Post-Mortem of Junkanoo Carnival - Photo 5

  • Fostering genius … at last – The Bahamas has been notorious for their policies advocating egalitarianism. The concept of Carnival requiring artists to compete for top prizes is 100% divergent from that ideal. Yet, this approach of fostering the musical genius in the country is essential for growing the regional/national economy. We must “hitch our wagons” to the strong, talented and gifted “horses”, as was the case for Bob Marley. See Photos here of the Bahamian Headliner and also of one of the Junkanoo Carnival “Music Masters” event finalist; see Appendix A – VIDEO below. Go Lean calls for formal institutions to develop and monetize musical genius in the region.

CU Blog - Post-Mortem of Junkanoo Carnival - Photo 2

CU Blog - Post-Mortem of Junkanoo Carnival - Photo 4

  • Carnival is a Stimulus (GDP) not an investment (no ROI)Gross Domestic Product is calculated as C + I + G + (X – M) or private consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports − imports). So the Bahamas government spending $9 million to facilitate the inaugural Carnival did stimulate additional economic activity; (actual results still spending). The foregoing article quotes a $50 to $60 million impact on GDP. This is highly possible based on this formula. Go Lean plans many economic stimuli from Events.
  • Mass attendance is assured – but monetizing is the challenge – Other news reports reflect that vendors and merchants did not get the final returns they had hoped. The Go Lean roadmap calls for the embrace of fairgrounds so as to better monetize event revenues; think parking, hospitality tents, campgrounds (RV’s).
  • Main Street not fully engaged – Bigger Carnival events (Rio de Janeiro, New Orleans, etc.) are successful for their inclusion of floats and trinkets thrown to spectators. The embrace of this strategy would allow Main Street businesses or NGO’s direct participation with sponsorship, advertising and float construction. The Go Lean roadmap seeks to create 2.2 million new jobs in the region by embedding large, medium, small businesses and NGO’s in the development of trade and commerce.

CU Blog - Post-Mortem of Junkanoo Carnival - Photo 7 Sample Float from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

CU Blog - Post-Mortem of Junkanoo Carnival - Photo 6 Bahamas Carnival’s “Road Fever” Winners

  • Carnival and religion do not make good dance partners – Carnival, by its very nature and history is not a religious event. It does not attempt to honor or worship the Christian God; therefore there should be no attempt to reconcile the two; see Photo here. The Bahamas event avoided planning Sunday activities as an acquiescence to religious leaders; thus missing out on prime weekend availability for visitors and locals alike. The Go Lean roadmap promotes a religiously neutral technocracy – better!

CU Blog - Post-Mortem of Junkanoo Carnival - Photo 3

  • Need an earlier date for Snow-birds and Spring-breakers – A typical Carnival pre-Ash Wednesday date would have been February, ideal for extensive outdoor activities in the Bahamian Heat. On the other hand, the 2nd weekend in May is virtually summer and therefore disinviting for northern visitors – the classic tourist market. The previous commentary had identified that the Bahamas does not have a Lenten ethos, so a March date would be better all-around for better weather, plus an appeal to Snow-birds and Spring-breakers. The Go Lean roadmap focuses on technocracy not religion.

The Go Lean book prescribes events/festivals as paramount in the roadmap to elevate the regional economy (Page 191). There are many ways for the lessons learned in this year’s inaugural Junkanoo Carnival to be better applied in the execution of the roadmap for the Bahamas and the rest of the Caribbean. There are dimensions of these type of events that hadn’t even been experienced by the region … as of yet, namely security. No “bad actors” have emerged to exploit the event for terroristic activities. Yet the Go Lean roadmap fully anticipates this reality. These are among the many strategies, tactics, implementation and advocacies for best-practices:

Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives Page 23
Community Ethos – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Non Government Organization Page 25
Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Ways to Foster Genius – Performance Excellence Page 27
Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Ways to Promote Happiness Page 36
Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Customers – Business Community Page 47
Strategy – Customers – Visitors / Tourists Page 47
Strategy – Competitors – Event Patrons Page 55
Separation of Powers – Emergency Mgmt. Page 76
Separation of Powers – Tourism Promotion Page 78
Separation of Powers – Sports & Culture Page 81
Separation of Powers – Fairgrounds Administration Page 83
Separation of Powers – Turnpike Operations Page 84
Steps to Implement Self-Governing Entities Page 105
Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Ways to Improve Intelligence Gathering & Analysis – Surveillance Page 182
Ways to Improve [Service] Animal Husbandry – For Event Security Page 185
Ways to Enhance Tourism Page 190
Ways to Impact Events Page 191
Ways to Promote Fairgrounds Page 192
Ways to Impact Hollywood – Media Industry Page 203
Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218
Ways to Improve the Arts Page 230
Ways to Promote Music Page 231
Appendix – Event Model: Sturgis 10-Day Festival Page 288

The publishers of the Go Lean roadmap applaud the current Bahamian Government officials for their commitment to fully commit to this Event Tourism strategy for future growth. This administration is hereby urged to lean-in to the Go Lean roadmap for clear directions (turn-by-turn) on how best to elevate Bahamian society to being a better place to live, work and play. In fact, the entire Caribbean region is hereby urged to lean into this roadmap.

The success of this roadmap is conceivable, believable and achievable.

Caribbean events are promotions of our unique culture to a world-wide stage; yet they can fortify economic efficiency as well.

So the world is watching…

See how the world marks the manner of our bearing – verse from Bahamas National Anthem.


Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix A – VIDEO: Bahamas Carnival (Junkanoo Carnival) by Sonovia Pierre –

Published on Dec 15, 2014 – Singer and songwriter Sonovia Pierre, affectionately called Novie, was destined to have an interesting musical life.  She holds a Bachelorʼs of Arts in Music Education from Florida Atlantic University. In 1990 she joined one of the most successful Bahamian bands, Visage as a lead vocalist. She has written and recorded several songs on five of the group’s albums and has collaborated with several other leading Bahamian artists. She is widely known for her hit songs including, “Still need a man” and “Man bad, woman bad”.

License: Standard YouTube License


Appendix B – Caribbean Carnivals  – (Source:

Approximate dates are given for the concluding festivities. Carnival season may last for over a month prior to the concluding festivities, and the exact dates vary from year to year [depending on the Judeo-Christian Passover/Easter calendar].

  • Anguilla – Anguilla Summer Festival, early August[1]
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba – Carnival, February, Ash Wednesday[4]
  • The Bahamas – Junkanoo, late December/early January[5]; first Junkanoo Carnival inaugurated in May 2015.[63]
  • Barbados – Crop Over, early August[6]
  • Belize – Carnival, September[7]
  • Bonaire – Carnival, February Ash Wednesday[8]
  • British Virgin Islands
    • Tortola – BVI Emancipation (August) Festival, early August[9]
    • Virgin Gorda – Virgin Gorda Easter Festival Celebrations, late March/early April[10]
  • Cayman Islands – Batabano, late April/early May[11]
  • Cuba
  • Curaçao – Carnival, February, Ash Wednesday[14]
  • Dominica – Carnival, February, Ash Wednesday[15]
  • Dominican Republic – Dominican Carnival, February, Dominican Independence Day[16]
  • Grenada
    • Carriacou – Carriacou Carnival, February, Ash Wednesday[17]
    • Grenada – Spicemas, early August[18]
  • Guadeloupe – Carnaval – February, Ash Wednesday[19]
  • Guyana – Mashramani (Mash), February 23, Guyanese Republic Day[20]
  • Haiti – Kanaval, February, Ash Wednesday[21]
  • Jamaica – Bacchanal, late March/early April[22]
  • Martinique – Carnival, February, Ash Wednesday[23]
  • Montserrat – Montserrat Festival, early January, New Year’s Day[24]
  • Puerto Rico – Carnaval de Ponce, February, Ash Wednesday[25]
  • Saba – Saba Summer Festival, late July/early August[26]
  • Saint-Barthélemy – Carnival, February, Ash Wednesday[27]
  • Saint Lucia – Carnival, July[28]
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
    • Saint Kitts – Carnival, December/January[29]
    • Nevis – Culturama, late July/early August[30]
  • Saint-Martin – Carnival, February, Ash Wednesday[31]
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – Vincy Mas, late June/early July[32]
  • Saint Eustatius – Statia Carnival, late July/early August[33]
  • Sint Maarten – Carnival, late April/early May[34]
  • Trinidad and Tobago
    • Trinidad – Carnival, February, Ash Wednesday[35]
    • Tobago – Tobago Carnival, February, Ash Wednesday[36]
  • Turks and Caicos – Junkanoo, late December/early January, Three King’s Day[37]
  • United States Virgin Islands
    • Saint Croix – Crucian Festival, late December/early January Three King’s Day[38]
    • Saint John – St. John Festival, June through July 3 & 4, V.I. Emancipation Day and U.S. Independence Day[39]
    • Saint Thomas – V.I. Carnival, April through early May[40]


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