As Chairperson of the Board of Directors and Planning Committee for Cayman Carnival Batabano, a registered non-profit organization (NPO), it’s that time of year again when we turn our focus to the next Batabano season – the 37th consecutive year of celebration and Mas in the Cayman Islands.
I am thrilled to say that Batabano 2019 was an amazing springboard into the 2020 decade! It was one of the largest street parades in the Cayman Islands to date, with 15 registered Masquerade Bands and groups on the road (five of them newly launched, with Batabano) and some 4,000 revelers playing Mas with us, Cayman style!
A visiting mas band from Honduras joined us on the road this year for the first time, along with hundreds of visiting masqueraders from the USA, Canada, Jamaica, and other destinations.
We welcomed many new and returning sponsors, and we saw thousands of spectators lining the streets in support of Batabano this year, from West Bay Road to Harbor Drive. We truly couldn’t have been more humbled or honoured.
Let there be no doubt about it - Batabano continues to be a lucrative and growing cultural national event and tourism product for our islands, and for our people.
Batabano traces back almost 4 decades of our people's creative vision and dedication to uphold and preserve a cultural event that is distinctively Caribbean, yet uniquely Caymanian by its very name and seasonality. Today, coupled with its unique native connection to Cayman’s turtling heritage, Batabano’s purpose has evolved beyond just the revelry. It engenders new friendships, generates new business, and stimulates creativity and socio-economic development.
As the national carnival since its inception in 1983 by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, we remain committed to one unified carnival on Grand Cayman for all to enjoy and experience, just as Batabano’s original founders intended. Likewise, in the spirit of unity, we offer our continued support and endorsement for Cayman Brac’s Braccanal carnival on Discovery Day weekend each year. Afterall, Cayman Brac was the first of our three islands to be discovered by Christopher Columbus on “Discovery Day” May 10, 1503, so that date holds significant historic value for Braccanal as an island-wide celebration.
With the support of our stakeholders, sponsors, mas bands, many local businesses, and Batabano masqueraders, we look forward to welcoming one and all for Batabano on the second weekend in May next year and beyond, as previously announced, with the Government’s support. Batabano events offer residents and visitors an exciting long weekend starting from Thursday May 7th through Sunday May 10th, 2020. Junior Batabano will take place the first weekend in May going forward, which is May 1-2, 2020.
On behalf of the Batabano Board of Directors and Planning Committee, I offer my sincerest thanks and gratitude to all of the local businesses, sponsors and supporters who have stuck by Batabano through thick and thin, including the Government who have afforded us the opportunity to showcase our culture tourism product at a level that mirrors some of the best known carnivals in the region. Many thanks to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) which has been a wonderful partner providing us with excellent policing service to ensure our safety and security before, during and after our events, and thanks to all of the hotels, condos, restaurants, and bars for hosting Batabano spectators and visiting masqueraders each year.
I would like to personally invite one and all to be a part of the 37th anniversary of Cayman Carnival Batabano in 2020, which promises to be full of colour and vibrancy, allowing both revelers and enthusiastic spectators to share in memorable moments of our unique Cayman Carnival experience.