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Carnival Cost $12m, Over Budget By $3m

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe yesterday confirmed that Junkanoo Carnival went over its $9m budget - costing about $12m - but said he expects the allocation for the festival to be reduced considerably next year.

Mr Wilchcombe said the government got a return on its investment despite exceeding its budget for the festivities.

He said he believes the event injected more than $50m into the economy, a figure that National Festival Commission Chairman Paul Major once estimated the festival would bring.

The tourism minister said not factoring spending required for the festival’s launch in Grand Bahama was one reason why the event cost taxpayers more than what was originally budgeted. He did not say how much was spent, however it has been reported that the event cost $12 million in the end.

“(Carnival) was over budget, but with explanation,” Mr Wilchcombe told The Tribune. “Obviously some things that were not considered in the initial plans were later considered and it went over-budget, but not without explanation. The point is the value of the project has to be looked at in its full context and (commission members) will explain how all the funds were spent and why they had to be spent. I think it’s important to point out that many things were included that were not included in the first instance. For instance what we did for Grand Bahama, so the budget had to be changed, so they went over budget.

“So how do we value the entire project? Did we get money for spend? What’s the return on the investment? All those things have to be looked at. But what I do like is that the budget is going to be looked at again for next year and it’s going to be considerably less based on all the imprint that they now have.”

In May, Mr Major predicted that the GDP impact of Junkanoo Carnival could be about $50m.

Asked about this yesterday now that the report into carnival has been completed, Mr Wilchcombe said: “I think if you look at the dollar value it might be even more than that, but it’s going to be value as opposed to dollars and cents.”

Mr Wilchcombe confirmed that the long-awaited report into carnival’s impact has been prepared and presented to Cabinet.

“The Cabinet has taken sight of it,” he said. “The commission will now meet with the media soon and discuss all the intricate details of everything, inclusive of spending and everything else.”

Asked for specifics about the total revenue generated from the festival, he said: “I don’t have the dollar and cents impact of carnival. They will have to give you that. That’s all an economic view. I can’t say that. More importantly for me is the Bahamian participation. There’s a value to that. There is a goodwill value to that. There are, of course, visitors that came to the country. There are vendors. In fact you’ll find that they hired more than 500 vendors who were given opportunities here and in Grand Bahama and many small businesses. You’ll find the hundreds of musicians that were utilized, so there’s a lot of value there. But now how do you put that all together? That’s for the economists to do. What I am doing is looking at the long-term. We see the potential, we see the participation and we know what the brand carnival has to the world community so mix that with Junkanoo Carnival then we’ve got a winner that no one else can match.”

In terms of return on investment, the tourism minister said the event received exposure from international journalists and the country has been invited overseas to showcase its carnival.

“Now there’s an interest from visitors seeking to find out booking patterns and what they need to do and what should happen so, yes, it’s there but I believe that we are going to see the true value for this in the third year because it’s like a business,” he said, adding that the BNFC is ready to give a full briefing on the event.

The inaugural event was staged over three days in New Providence.

Comments

Economist 3 years, 11 months ago

Of course it did not inject $50 million into the economy. It was planned way to late for any international marketing. People had already booked to come to The Bahamas so don't count those tourists in the figure.

It was a grand waste of money intended to keep the "natives" happy. Nothing more, nothing less.

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jackbnimble 3 years, 11 months ago

It was actually a save face mission that resulted in disaster. Because it was the PM"s bright idea it had to be done never mind we up the ying yang with costs overruns. As are most things with this Government, no shock there.

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themessenger 3 years, 11 months ago

Will a forensic audit of this slush fund carried out by a reputable auditor or the Auditor General for that matter ever see the light of day? Probably not in our lifetime. Classic case of piss down your collar and tell you its raining.

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TalRussell 3 years, 11 months ago

Doubtful this was written by any Tribune reporter. God I hopes not.
Comrades, am I the only one willing say Obadiah really don't have a flippin clue - now do you Minister? This Bull Shit Information Services (BIS) press release, is so creatively written it made me laugh but in a depressed taxpayer's way.

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KareemC9 3 years, 11 months ago

This whole Carnival thing was just a big celebration for the PLP to observe their 3rd year in office, their third year of screwing the Bahamian people people with no concern for what happens next. Their whole plan is to keep the masses drunk and distracted while they pillage the coffers and ripoff the country to their satisfaction.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 11 months ago

Wow! Another fine example of our VAT dollars being flushed down the toilet while our National Debt and Debt to GDP Ratio continue to grow as if on steroids! What does that Bowe fellow at the Chamber of Commerce have to say about this and all the other recent fine examples of our VAT dollars being used for any and everything but the purpose for which they were intended? Didn't that Bowe fella and a few others like him say we should trust the Christie-led PLP government to do the right thing and put our VAT dollars to good use by paying down our National Debt over time or at least keeping it in check for the time being? Only another aspiring politician with little regard for the interests of the Bahamian people could have been such a gong ho proponent of the harshly regressive VAT we now find ourselves enduring for absolutely no good reason at all! Just about anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that you should always starve a spendthrift government of tax dollars, not feed it more! We desperately need people in our next government who, unlike Bowe, at least have some common sense.

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Chucky 3 years, 11 months ago

Well_mudda_take_sic Hi, I notice you mention Bowe and the Chamber of Commerce; I just thought I'd send you a note with some history and the evolution of the Chamber of Commerce world wide. The Chamber of Commerce is an institution in almost every nation of the world. It's members goals are all aligned; and basically the goal is to align government, education & media to support the "interests of big business". You can google the "Powell Papers" or "Powell Memorandum", put out in Aug of 1973. here's a link: http://law2.wlu.edu/powellarchives/pa...">http://law2.wlu.edu/powellarchives/pa... You can google "Powell Papers" PDF to read the actual documents.
Anyhow this is the foundation of the Chamber of commerce's world wide doctrine, including here at home. If you read it, and look for similarities in our system you will soon see the Chamber of Commerce is only worthy of being closed for good, and certainly not worthy of mention when someone wants something to be for the people of this nation, or any other.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 11 months ago

It's always easier for politicians with a well established track record of lying to saddle the people with their bad decisions when they have the support of supposed business leaders like Bowe who should have taken a firm stance against the implementation of the harshly regressive VAT from day one. Bowe and the few others like him could not possibly have been so stupid or naive as not to have known full well that the imposition of VAT would only serve to embolden our spendthrift government to spend even more!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 11 months ago

The Bahamian people (consumers) bear the brunt or lions share of VAT; not businesses as you would misleadingly have the public believe. Businesses are able to claw back a large portion of the VAT they pay and therefore only pay VAT on the value they add to the taxable product or service. But even that smaller portion of VAT that businesses should be absorbing is passed along by them to the end consumer, i.e. the Bahamian people. You are clearly a supporter of the Chamber of Commerce and the businesses it represents, which means you (like Bowe) obviously favour a regressive tax that avoids highly profitable businesses and high-income earners paying a fairer proportion of total taxes so that the little poor man is not hammered by a greatly increased cost of living that he simply cannot afford, thereby causing much hardship for most Bahamian families.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 11 months ago

To "lkalil": The Bahamian people (consumers) bear the brunt or lions share of VAT; not businesses as you would misleadingly have the public believe. Businesses are able to claw back a large portion of the VAT they pay and therefore only pay VAT on the value they add to the taxable product or service. But even that smaller portion of VAT that businesses should be absorbing is passed along by them to the end consumer, i.e. the Bahamian people. You are clearly are a supporter of the Chamber of Commerce and the businesses it represents, which means you (like Bowe) obviously favour a regressive tax that avoids highly profitable businesses and high-income earners paying a fairer proportion of total taxes so the little poor man is not hammered by a much higher cost of living that he simply cannot afford thereby causing much hardship for most Bahamian families.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 11 months ago

You've already told me don't blame Bowe and others like him for the Christie-led PLP government lying to the Bahamian people. But Bowe and other like him must have all along known of the government's well-established propensity for lying. Did you, Bowe and others like yourselves really believe for a moment that the Christie-led PLP government would reduce the regressive duty rates to compensate for the added harshly regressive VAT? I don't hear the Chamber and Bowe calling for a minimum wage all across the private sector of $15-18 per hour which is what it would take to help alleviate the whole sale destruction of Bahamian families that is occurring daily at an ever increasing rapid clip as a result of the albatross of regressive taxation loaded on to their already seriously weakened backs! The private business sector that the Chamber represents may generate jobs (albeit not in recent times), but those jobs mean very little unless if they do not pay enough for the worker to cope with the much higher cost of living associated with the introduction of VAT without a commensurate reduction of import duties. Enough said.

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TheMadHatter 3 years, 11 months ago

He is probably right. Next year instead of allocating $9 million - they could perhaps allocate only $7 million.

And instead of spending $12 million (3 over budget) - they could spend $15 million (8 over budget).

Less would indeed be "allocated".

LOL.

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Sickened 3 years, 11 months ago

So right! The figure that they allocate/budget is meaningless. It is what they spend that is important. Unfortunately, we will probably never truly know what was spent. I personally double anything they say as they would never include the amount stolen.

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John 3 years, 11 months ago

This is so pure Bull dung. They are an insult to accounting, economics and common decency.

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realfreethinker 3 years, 11 months ago

Voodoo accounting. How can they justify still talking about $50 mil injection. Just damn corrupt. I am so sick of these clowns,why dont a hole open in the cabinet office and swallow them all.

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TalRussell 3 years, 11 months ago

Comrades, for Minister Obediah to have come up with what has been seen as the best of the many second-rate fibbers ever told by anyone to date at Carnival 2015, his creativity of work had to demand long hours and have been hard on he upstairs - but obliviously not tiring enough to prevent da minister from possessing last bursts energy sufficient be's trifling around with da intelligence taxpayers with he - downstairs department.

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John 3 years, 11 months ago

A simple "buy and sell" event like carnival was could not have an impact of 400 times its value on the GDP. This is even more impossible when a significant amount of the funds used to put on carnival were spent on imports and even more was spent outside the country. The only significant impact of this event was Bahamians who spent money they would not have ordinarily spent. When carnival starts to attract visitors from overseas who come and fill up hotel rooms, rent cars or transportation, buy food and costumes and inject new money into the economy then you can start to talk about a significant economic impact and even then it would not be four hundred percent. If you have two TV sets in a house and you move them into the same room, you did not increase the number of TV sets in that house. Carnival, for the most part, took activities from one part of the economy and placed it somewhere else. The new economic activity it generated was not more than 10 percent.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 11 months ago

Told yall so ................ and what ya ga do??????????????

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 11 months ago

The tourism minister said not factoring spending required for the festival’s launch in Grand Bahama was one reason why the event cost taxpayers more than what was originally budgeted.

What azzt is this?

“(Carnival) was over budget, but with explanation,

And more azzt. There's always an explanation for missing money, someone stole it, embezzled it wasted it, didn't plan properly for it. One million dollars is a lot of money. I'm almost certain most of this money was spent on salaries (padded), first/business class tickets all over the world, luxury hotel accommodations and fine dining at the nicest restaurants to allow big belly men to travel with their carnival mistresses. Nothing to do with "marketing"

Two BNFC employees are now in court being investigated for teifin' 30,000 while others got away with millions. The carnival budget was a disgrace. Someone should be fired, starting at the top. They cannot be trusted to handle money.

why can't someone for once say, we screwed up and we're sorry?

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shonkai 3 years, 11 months ago

So, $12 million, not bad. How many people went, 20,000? Would you have spent $600 of your own money to go? Not me !

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GrassRoot 3 years, 11 months ago

20,000 Bahamians could have gone to Cuba for a long weekend for that money.

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shonkai 3 years, 11 months ago

But unfortunately not to one of our family islands, too expensive.

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GrassRoot 3 years, 11 months ago

It is like in Lion king, as soon as Scar takes over, all there is left is desert:

"As Mufasa's brother, Scar was next in line to take the throne until Simba came along. Scar's lack of physical prowess is more than made up for by his devious cunning as he plots to take back his birthright with his henchmen hyenas by his side. He is a selfish and greedy leader, nearly destroying the pride and the land in which they lived." —Scar's official synopsis

Paradise gone. Time for Change. We want our Paradise back.

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asiseeit 3 years, 11 months ago

This PLP vote buying scheme sure did cot the NATION a pretty penny. The cronie's and minions are very happy.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 11 months ago

I'm betting the true bill was greater than 12 million. These are the people who told us, we're going to spend much less than 9 million. So at some point they realized the goal was achievable for much less money. Then Paul Major (my God, if they leave him in that post, it's the biggest insult ever), says we spent 6 million already, "I'm a numbers man". Now he has his accountant in court for embezzling. What is this???

This explanation would mean the Freeport Launch costs over 6million if we're to believe them. On what? Freeport didn't require separate marketing....

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 11 months ago

I want to see the original 9 million budget certified as the "original" by Deloitte& Touche

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asiseeit 3 years, 11 months ago

I really wonder why these assholes even put out a budget, they have NEVER been on target or under budget. Why waste our time with a budget, yinna gonna steal what you want anyway!

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asiseeit 3 years, 11 months ago

And yes, our government is comprised of ASSHOLES of the highest order! Talk about people that are going to hell and are evil, just look at our government!

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John 3 years, 11 months ago

If you follow Paul Major's economics that a $12 million couple days event contributed $50 million to the GDP. Then Bah Mar's construction investment of $3.2 billion should contribute more than $1.8 trillion (yes trillion) to the GDP. Now can you see how ridiculous these clowns are.

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realfreethinker 3 years, 11 months ago

The plp love quoting big numbers , it sounds good to them. I wonder if they are going to ask for three audits like they did with the PHa or urban renewal.

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Zakary 3 years, 11 months ago

  • If you follow Paul Major's economics that a $12 million couple days event contributed $50 million to the GDP. Then Bah Mar's construction investment of $3.2 billion should contribute more than $1.8 trillion (yes trillion) to the GDP. Now can you see how ridiculous these clowns are.

John, you gave me a good laugh bey, and you’re right it's ridiculous. The monetary aspect of Carnival was a farce from its conception, but screw that. We love to party.

  • There really wasn't any solid and quantifiable way of measuring the GDP impact of carnival from the beginning. They would've saved face by not talking about GDP at all.

  • Carnival GDP impact was an adventure of mere speculation at best, and daydreaming at its worst.

  • The only thing it looks like they can tell you was that it was over budget, but don’t forget that this is budgeted taxpayers money, your money.

  • You can’t have GDP impact unless something was produced, and the only thing I saw produced was taxpayers money, unless someone can tell me otherwise.

  • The media did a good job of asking the minister for revenue numbers but he talked about dollar and cents impact. Just remember folks, GDP is not revenue.

Summary: Carnival was conceived with a focus on gross domestic product. The only thing I saw produced was taxpayers money, and as always, Bahamians love to party.

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John 3 years, 11 months ago

The clowns couldn't keep a $9 million project within its budget (they exceeded it by over 30 percent. Yet they want you to believe they can measure its impact on the GDP.

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John 3 years, 11 months ago

Signs that the economy has slowed : RBC/Finco has announced that it has suspended the payment of dividends to shareholders this quarter. Does this mean the situation at BoB will get even worse?

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 11 months ago

This government is a complete failure. It's unbelievable. Scandal after scandal. The only thing they seem to hope for is another scandal to ease pressure off the current one. Alfred Gray tells us this week, after weeks of deceit, that maybe he did interfere with the judiciary. AN ADMISSION OF AN ILLEGAL ACT FROM A SITTING CABINET MINISTER WITHOUT A RESIGNATION. And Perry Christie says nothing. Carnival got a whopping 9million and still went over budget and he praises them. Abject failure.

And what is up with Danny Johnson? The press has been reporting this 12 million figure for weeks and he denied it point blank on tv. What is that?? I believe others did the same as well. Jerome Fitzgerald & Rubis now this. Is Cabinet a cult? Is lying to the public now a part of your sworn duty?

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a2z 3 years, 11 months ago

At least 1 million of the 3 over budget went 'missing'. Sniff it out Tribune, sniff it out.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 11 months ago

Paul Major cannot keep this post. It would be an insult. CIBC, BahamasAir and now this?? Come on..

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 11 months ago

Where is Algernon Cargill ......... perfect person to run Carnival ....... look at his record with NIB and BSF .......... and consider him for UR2.0 as well

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