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The culture ministry has said that it still stands by the goal to have a single adult carnival in Cayman next May and the government-approved weekend for the combination of the Batabano and CayMAS parades on Grand Cayman remains 9 May. But organisers behind the CayMAS carnival have said that they will not be joining forces with Batabano and will instead hold their event on Discovery Day weekend (May 14-18) because government’s choice falls on Mother’s Day.
In a press statement, CayMAS said that moving the carnival to the weekend picked by government “will not be beneficial to the growth of our carnival tourism product based on our research and discussions with outside potential patrons”, as they do not believe people will take part in the carnival on Mother’s Day weekend
“CayMAS Carnival is not a government entity nor do we receive major funding from the government to operate,” the organisers said as they disputed the claims by government that businesses are adversely effected.
The organisers also conducted a survey of almost 800 people in a one-day snapshot on the 2020 dates, which showed that 88% voted for the carnival to take place on a holiday weekend and 81% voted against Mother’s Day.
But government believes that the carnivals should be consolidated and the most suitable schedule is to hold junior carnival on 2 May and both adult carnivals on the second weekend in May, leaving the Braccanal, the Cayman Brac carnival, to take place on Discovery weekend without clashing with any events on Grand Cayman.
Government said it had proposed the simultaneous staging of the two carnivals for a number of reasons. One 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. The ministry said the road closures also create a strain on police resources.
However, CayMAS have said that with strategic management, the main West Bay Road need only be closed for around two hours and that the carnival is willing to compensate the RCIPS for the additional work.
Officials at the ministry said they appreciated the cultural contributions of all Carnival mas bands but were “compelled to maintain support” for a combined carnival parade.
“We remain open to constructive dialogue with all carnival organisers,” said Culture Minister Dwayne Seymour. “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 carnivals,” he said. noting that other larger Caribbean countries have one annual carnival.
It is not clear whether government intends to resist CayMAS plans by preventing the road closures if, as appears to be the case, the organisers press on with their aim to hold that carnival on Discovery weekend.