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Wilchcombe Aims To Promote The ‘True Identity’ Of Bahamian Culture In Carnival

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchombe declared that the number one aim of the inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival is to promote the “true identity of Bahamian culture”. He said he is “not at all concerned” with any negative issues surrounding the festival.

He said despite recent assertions by anti-Carnival groups, the government is working to build a platform to display true “Bahamianism” because that is what will separate the Bahamas’ tourism product from competitors.

According to Mr Wilchcombe, the Carnival Commission led by Paul Major has a strong foundation that is holding things together and moving along in the process of making certain that the culture of the Bahamas becomes renowned around the globe.

He indicated that the government, the Ministry of Tourism and the Carnival Commission are all “rising above negatives” and positioning themselves to promote the festival as a “mega event to promote what the Bahamas has to offer.”

“We want to get every recording artist that we have on stage. We want to get our people out there. We want people to see how good our people are.”

The West End and Bimini MP said the mega event concept has been successful at promoting culture and identity for many countries around the world.

He said: “Mega events are working all over the world, mega events like the Olympics, mega events like festivals, festivals of a grand scale. So the truth is we are hoping that it helps us market the Bahamas, but more importantly market who we are.”

He added: “We have to appreciate that the Bahamas is a very complex country to market because we have Nassau, we have Grand Bahama, we have Abaco, we have all these different islands. So how do we get the message out? You can’t do it in a 30 second ad, so you have to find ways to cause it to happen. One way to do it is through entertainment.”

Junkanoo Carnival has in recent weeks come under a lot of scrutiny. Last week, it was revealed that the members of the Carnival Commission were seeking to pay American pop star Janet Jackson $1.9 million to perform during the week of activities, a proposal that was rejected by the government.

Three members of the Carnival Commission recently resigned; two of them, Ed Fields and Freddie Munnings, reportedly left the commission due to issues with the government and the other, Inga Bowleg, reportedly needed more time to devote to her career.

Then came news that the Bahamas Christian Council would not support the “immodest” costumes for the planned event, saying the scant attire could lead to “fornication, promiscuity, rape incest” and other “sins of the flesh.”

That led Mr Wilchcombe to defend the festival, stressing that the celebration would encourage “Bahamianism” and not “sins of the flesh.” Mr Wilchcombe added the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Commission would take “into consideration” all concerns voiced by the Christian Council.

Junkanoo Carnival will be a series of cultural events scheduled to take place in April and May.

Officials have indicated it will cost $9m to stage the event. Last week, it was revealed that only $1.5m has been spent so far.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 4 years, 3 months ago

I am not anti-Carnival, I am looking for the positive economic window as was promised to SMALL businesses by the PM. But I am most upset with how this entire thing is unfolding. I am disgusted with the attitude of the commission that "this what we doing and we don't care what you think, there will always be naysayers anyway". I am disgusted that the value of the Bahamian customer has been completely overlooked. I can't say I could do a better job, but I know some principles. And one of the most important ingredients in any venture such as this is identifying your stakeholders, those who are on your side AND those who are against your vision. Your number one task is to sell your vision to EVERYBODY. By dismissing the Junkanoo community and dismissing the Christian community you have slashed your audience for what you purport is a CULTURAL event. How dumb is that? You have an idea in your hand that you could have gotten the entire Junkanoo community, the entire Bahamian public even, on board, but you allow foolish arguments like "they old. they e'enh coming anyway. this for young people" etc, get those voices out of your midst or this is definitely doomed to fail.

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 3 months ago

And the Police Commisioner needs to have a press conference tomorrow to state in plain terms that no alcohol will be served on the parade route. The Police have NEVER had to control of group of 4000 drunk people on the streets of NASSAU. EVER.

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duppyVAT 4 years, 3 months ago

True ............ they bring out half of the Force for Junkanoo now. Carnival will require both the Police and Defence Force to be used ....... and US Coast Guard for backup.

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TalRussell 4 years, 3 months ago

STOP THIS DAMN CARNIVAL SPENDING RIGHT NOW!! CLOSE THE DOORS THE TOURISTS ARE NOT GOING TO COME!!!! Rather than Comrade Tribune Reporter Ricardo just reporting like a Xerox photo copying machine what Minister Obediah and his ever changing positions Carnival Committee are saying, why not pick up telephone and speak directly to the hotels and other tourist venues and they will confirm that there are little to no hotel rooms or any other bookings being generated by this carnival nonsense. Is the Tribune not aware that only $8,000 in seed money was advanced to fund Junkanoo and as of January 1, 2015 the carnival committee are in receipt of 1.5 million dollars of taxpayers money? Is the Tribune not aware that in the long history of all Boxing and New Year's Day Junkanoo Parades, Goombays, Junkanoo Summer Festivals and anything else you can think of, that collectively governments of Bahamaland combined have not spent anywhere near 1.5 million, since Milio B. Butler wore he diapers? C'mon Tribune, pick up the the damn phone and track down, who, if any, local businesses have received any of the 1.5 million dollars.... and they done announced they have big plans or spending another ghastly 7.5 million dollars of taxpayers money. While you're on phone calling around track down the $1.5m, ask radio stations if its true as is now being reported, that commercial advertising spots have been pulled by the government/carnival committee from talk radio shows where the hosts have been asking too many carnival questions? I am told the 1.5 million spent does not include what the government has spent on organization and promoting carnival? This is already the PM's biggest flop.

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 3 months ago

I've been saying from day one, they need to report to us line item by line item, month by month, what they are spending and where they are spending. Saying "1 million on marketing " for example tells no one anything

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TalRussell 4 years, 3 months ago

Comrade have you noticed when a member of carnival committee are asked a "politically uncomfortable" question, how it is that there are never straight answers forthcoming. More like, I understand your question BUT answering that is ABOVE my appointment level, or they promise get back to you once they have the facts. Even ministers acting that way. Why can't you and I go online to see the figures right down to the last red penny, who got paid out of the 1.5 million dollars and for what? These rascals, if the people don't stop them, are going to spend another 7.5 million dollars of poor taxpayers monies. The PLP cabinet gave Junkanoo a measly eight househusband dollars and yes the parades were delayed but we did end up with boxing and christmas day Junkanoo parades. Here we done spent 1.5 million and what in hell do we have show it?

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 3 months ago

Yep. "Seat of your pants" planning. It can work for small initiatives but its disastrous for something like this. Btw you're very generous with your 7.5 million estimate

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TalRussell 4 years, 3 months ago

I am renaming Carnival 2015 - PottyGate. Comrade not my estimation on either amount. I confirmed this morning the 1.5 million dollars was deposited into Carnival's bank account. And, the Carnival Committee have publicly confirmed they have a 9 million dollar budget. It is most important to focus on the 8 thousand dollars seed money advanced to put on both the Boxing and New Year's Day Junkanoo parades. You and I know for a fact that the two Junkanoo parades are a reality. What we can't see is any evidence of where and what the 1. 5 million was spent on. Also, Junkanoo-eers, never got pee in no specially designed potty toilets as is being plannned for Carnival. No, I am not making that crap up. We sure hope the 9 million will at least cover cost fancy toilets. Honestly, have you ever heard such a potty thing?

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Girly 4 years, 3 months ago

We as Bahamians have never truly accepted our own identity. The Jamaicans keep their accent wherever they go and love their reggae music and Bob Marley, Haitians would proudly display their Haitian flag in another mans land and say they are ZOE for life.Every other Caribbean person accepts their identity but NOOOOO not us Bey. As soon as we step off the plane in another mans land we sound like them taking on their accent. and all the while these different people are laughing at us and calling us stupid and dumb.Can someone please tell me WHERE IN THE WORLD DID WE GO WRONG??????????????

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VDSheep 4 years, 3 months ago

I look like any Bahamian to you? Foreigners are first in the Bahamas; we get everything first before any Bahamian. They don't appreciate what they have - so we are here to take it all! Bahamians love foreigners before their own! Foreigners first in the Bahamas!

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VDSheep 4 years, 3 months ago

Hey this foreigner culture business might just work - bring in the Chinese dragon festival, the New Orleans Mardi Gras, the German October festival or any other Western festival - I don't know if we should bring in any African festival; cause my grandfather was from England - I look like any African to you?

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, you know what's weird? The Valley Boys had an impressive display a year ago when they brought China to Bay (go figure:) ). People LOVED it. Reports about "who" financed them aside, it's clear somebody financed them. It would be interesting to find out exactly how much money they got for that parade,how much money it took to put on such an impressive display.they are proof that if Junkanoo is properly funded the product improves. These people who just reach and think they arrived talking about #junkanooisdying and carnival for young people better catch theyself

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B_I_D___ 4 years, 3 months ago

"He said he is “not at all concerned” with any negative issues "

That pretty much sums it up in a nutshell...don't need to say much more. Sad, very sad.

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TalRussell 4 years, 3 months ago

Comrade ANY Carnival conceived and promoted as a get rich project for small businesses and entrepreneurs has failure painted in bold lettering all over it. You'd have be the dumbest of village idiots to even begin to believe a mere 10% of what has been given as the excuse for calling THEY'S, not the PEOPLES thing, a Carnival. I know EXACTLY what was originally budgeted AND APPROVED for they specially designed Carnival Potty Toilets, and it will be interesting to see now that I have made this public, if they will try to issue a lower cost budgeted amount or cancel it completely? Co'mon issue your potty toilets budget?

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duppyVAT 4 years, 3 months ago

Festivals should be used to promote our LOCAL culture ................... Carnival is not our culture. Let us look at Regattas, Homecomings, CrabFest, Cat Island Rake n Scrape etc that promote the community/cultural spirit of our islands ........... carnival will not add to that.

The PLP government has an ulterior motive for this Carnival ............ FRIENDS, FAMILY & LOVERS

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ProfessorTinker 4 years, 3 months ago

Junkanoo Fiesta is what they need to change the name to. As I stated on the Steve McKinney show that Junkanoo Carnival is a battle of national identity. The government can still pivot and save the day. There needs to be no invitation of any foreign artist that the government will set a precedent on paying them a crazy fee for there performance it will set a bad precedent for Bahamian artist.

Whomever advise these guys did not give them the real data that carnivals throughout the world are supported anywhere from 80-85% locals, and the other 15 to 20% is from the returning Diaspora. This thing might get max 10 t0 15% new visitors.

Also the timing for this event in the Bahamas is wrong. This event should be during Spring Break when colleges are on break from mid March to Mid April or during the summer from Mid May/June through late August.

Final word, not bad mouthing anything, I wish the best for the country but there return on investment will be minimal. The government will not make the projected return on investment. I am predicting a tremendous lost, not like its anything new. But.................... Population of Trinidad is 1.3 Million. Population of Brazil is 200 Million. Population of the Bahamas is 375 Thousand (Plus the majority of the people don’t support it) Do I need to say anymore? Carnivals core base support is from the local people. I attended Junkanoo last year and to conservatively say, I doubt there were 7500 people down town and that is very high. So do the math, that is only 2% of the population of the Bahamas, and 3.5% of Nassau population.

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duppyVAT 4 years, 3 months ago

The Junkanoo parades are becoming too tribal and boorish ........... that is why it is losing its lustre ............ plus the carnivalization of the costumes started 20 years ago. But Junkanoo is about MUSIC first, then SHOWTIME

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asiseeit 4 years, 3 months ago

I love how the first thing the Bahamian organizers do while "believing in Bahamians" is run to hire a washed up FOREIGN artist at a highly inflated rate. If that is not a bitch slap to Bahamians I do not know what is! Funny thing is they could not even hire the washed up FOREIGN artist.

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B_I_D___ 4 years, 3 months ago

I'm thinking this entire governments mantra towards the people is one big b!tch slap!!

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