Next year, instead of two separate carnivals staged a couple of weeks apart, the Batabano and CayMAS parades will be held on the same day, the government announced on Friday.

The twin parades, scheduled for the second weekend of May, will follow the same path. Batabano, as the longer established street party, will lead off, and then CayMAS will follow the same parade route, according to a government statement. Once they reach the final destination, the parades will branch off into separate parties.

Before 2016, there had been just one street carnival, but Batabano and Swanky (CayMAS) split, leading to separate parades being held. The Batabano parade was held on Saturday, May 4, this year, and the CayMAS parade will be on Saturday, May 18.

The planned merging of the two parades is the product of a working group led by the Ministry of Culture and including representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Tourism, according to the government statement.

Government and stakeholders began discussions in 2018 and planned a resolution designed to address public concerns following the 2016 split between the two carnival groups.

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Government said it had fielded complaints regarding the separation of carnivals, and Seven Mile Beach vendors and hotels protested disruptions to business caused by road closures to accommodate the two parades.

Minister of Commerce Joey Hew tasked a team that included George Town Manager Colin Lumdsen and a National Roads Authority staffer to help finalise the new route, which they expect to cause the least disruption to traffic flow and minimise inconvenience to local businesses.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism Moses Kirkconnell said he believes that the new approach will help optimise the experience for locals and visitors on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.

The Cayman National Culture Foundation, which is run under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, will be responsible for administering all public sector contributions and grants for the carnivals in 2020. Government will contribute to both festivals through annual grants and purchase agreements.

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