The theme for this year’s Green Turtle Cay Junkanoo Parade was Birds of Paradise: a name evoking a vision of bright, vivid colours. A large crowd of spectators were treated to the vibrant display as they witnessed the Li’l Island Slammers’ annual Junkanoo Parade which took place on January 2, 2017.
Tiny paraders, followed by teenagers and adult rushers, came down the hill from Amy Roberts School in an explosion of bright pinks, deep reds, indigo blues, emerald greens, sun yellows and rich blacks. They paused by the basketball court to regroup, long enough for the cameras to come out, before they started marching, dancing and twirling through the streets of New Plymouth once again.
In addition to the colourful visuals, he music players ringing cow bells, playing brass and pounding drums brought up the rear of the procession.
They rushed to the Point, enjoying a few minutes of well-deserved pause as the weather was unseasonably hot. The parade then continued on Bay Street to the Wrecking Tree and up the side street that led to the basketball court where they were welcomed by the rhythms of the Gully Roosters’ band.
Local board member, Ken Jones, grabbed the microphone to auction some of the costumes. He was assisted in the auction by Willis Lavarity and band leader Kevin McIntosh. A hat, wings and a few more pieces became the property of happy buyers.
Wynsome Ferguson, with the Ministry of Tourism, then congratulated the organizers and praised the Junkanoo Parade as a major tourism event.
Old and new members were part of this year Green Turtle Cay Junkanoo Organizing Committee and the parade was the result of the fusion of old experience with new ideas.
The costumes were entirely constructed on the cay with Roosvelt “Fire” Rolle designing them and building them with a crew of eight people who met nearly every day for the previous two months.
Rolle wanted to “create something exotic with plenty of colours.” His inspiration for the costumes came from watching many Junkanoo Parades.
A native of Eleuthera, Rolle learned how to make costumes with a group called the Johnson Superstars.
A plumber and electrician by trade, Mr. Rolle moved to Green Turtle Cay in 2002, helping Floyd Johnson who, at the time, was leader of the Li’l Island Slammers.
The Old Gospel Chapel served as the Junkanoo shack; it was there that a crew of women, led by Karen McIntosh and Mary Smith, painted the faces of the female performers.
By late afternoon, still quite a lot of people hung out by the Wrecking Tree and Bay Street, waiting for the last event of the day, a display of more colours in the fireworks offered by the Green Turtle Cay Fire Department.