Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe hopes the government will confirm an international artist to headline the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival this week.
Confirmation on the matter could be just a phone call away, he told The Tribune yesterday.
The minister had hoped to deal with the matter last week, but had other pressing issues to attend to as well.
International stars from Usher to Janet Jackson to Rihanna and Beyonce have all been rumoured to be in talks with the government to headline the festival. Officials have not confirmed or denied such reports, however.
Last week Mr Wilchcombe denied reports that international gospel artists have been added to the line-up.
He revealed at the time that the government is
increasing the amount of seed money it gives to Junkanoo groups to help them prepare for the Junkanoo summer festivals as well as New Year’s Day and Boxing Day parades.
“We are in negotiations right now to increase their money,” he said. “Boxing Day and New Year’s Day will also be increased but that is not my ministry so I cannot say by how much, but I know it will be much more than the $8,000 they are getting now.
“You can never spend too much on the development of culture and Junkanoo,” he added. “I would love to see Junkanoo become a major festival. It is a Broadway show, a show that the entire world should see. It should be presented in a grand way. Junkanoo groups get their seed capital, but that $8,000 or $9,000 is not enough. So we are now looking to ensure that Junkanoo gets the right support financially. We definitely are increasing that money. Junkanoo will get what it deserves.”
Two weeks ago, the Carnival Commission announced the first round of local entertainers, which included J Mitchell, T Connection, Visage and Baha Men.
They are expected to take the stage for the Music Masters concert on May 8.