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Jamaica Carnival's return anticipated in original form

Published:Thursday | March 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Byron Lee

Kamal Bankay makes a distinction between two stages of Jamaica Carnival. There is the one that widened the celebration's scope in the early 1990s, moving the road march from largely a UWI-student-driven affair on the Mona Campus to a one-day takeover of some of Kingston's thoroughfares. Then, after the grumble of its trailer trucks' engines quieted and the costumes' plumes flagged, last year, Jamaica Carnival attempted a road march return, only to announce recently that it had lost its footing again this year.

It is the original Jamaica Carnival that Bankay would like to see back in the mix, sooner rather than later, as Carnival in Jamaica drives to expand the spectacle which it is hoped will be part of pulling even more visitors into the country.

"We need to appeal to partners," Bankay said, emphasising that unity is required for viability. "We would be very happy to see them on the road."

As he sees it, there is room not only for the current crop of Xodus, Bacchanal Jamaica, and Xaymaca, as well as a hopefully resurgent Jamaica Carnival, but for many more - and not only in Kingston.

"I hope to have 10 to 12 major bands on the road in five years across the country," Bankay said. A float parade is part of this year's roster, and he hopes that the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission will also have an input at some point.