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More Than $20,000 Stolen From Bahamas National Festival Commission

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

POLICE have received a complaint of theft of more than $20,000 from the Bahamas National Festival Commission, The Tribune has learned.

BNFC Chairman Paul Major did not reveal any details about the matter when contacted by The Tribune yesterday, but did confirm that police were brought in to investigate.

However, according to well-placed sources, two persons employed with the commission were being questioned by police concerning the theft of some $24,000 from the BNFC.

The money was reportedly stolen through cheques that were drawn on the name of one of the employees who cashed them at a local bank, The Tribune understands.

Attempts to reach head of the Central Detective Unit, Chief Superintendent Paul Rolle were unsuccessful yesterday.

Mr Major, however, when contacted about the reports that had reached The Tribune, said: “I would tell you that there is an irregularity and it was forwarded to the police.”

“That is all I will say on that,” the chairman added.

He declined to comment any further on whether the “irregularity” would affect or further delay the release of the Junkanoo Carnival revenue and economic impact figures that he had promised to the public within 21 days of the conclusion of the inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival.

The government initially said it would cost $9 million to stage the event.

However, BNFC officials have given little insight on how much was spent and earned from the festival held last month. The event was staged over two days in Grand Bahama in April and from May 7-9 in New Providence.

Mr Major had previously predicted $50m to $60m in economic impact, with organisers forecasting an economic boost for the country resulting from the significant number of tourists travelling to the Bahamas for the event.

Last week, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr Danny Johnson said the festival’s report would hopefully be released this week.

Festival organisers faced controversy when The Tribune reported earlier this month that the top three finishers in the Music Masters song competition, Sammi Starr, Lady E and Colyn McDonald, had not received the more than $40,000 in prize money they won at the festival.

The delay in their payments prompted some of the artists to take to social media to question when they would receive their money. The Tribune understands they have since been paid.

BNFC officials have also been embroiled in issues with food vendors, some who claimed that they either barely broke even, or lost cash during the event.

The commission had first indicated that it would reimburse some vendors their booth rent with some consideration to the loss of goods, but Mr Major later adjusted that position, saying recently that payments to vendors would only be made if the money were available.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 2 months ago

Tip of the iceberg my friend, as we all know!

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realfreethinker 4 years, 2 months ago

That was from the petty cash. we want to know how much was stolen by the big wigs

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GrassRoot 4 years, 2 months ago

so what is funny that the persons were able to get an authorized signatory to sign a check to the persons for no reason? I wonder how many more of these checks were issued. Having this said, now we know what the reason presented for deficit will be: "theft". - well we knew that a long time ago, but now its official. I bet they hang the small ones (which they should) and let the big thieves get away with it (which they should not).

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 2 months ago

Exactly. They will blame every penny of the overrun on theft

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TalRussell 4 years, 2 months ago

Comrades here the PLP Cabinet goes again, speedily summoning a policeman's investigation when it involves but working stiffs. You can be named in a US court as a thief (political appointee) of over a quarter million dollars and no policeman's were summoned. How come?

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John 4 years, 2 months ago

By next week the figure will transpose to at least $1/4 million.

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duppyVAT 4 years, 2 months ago

Paul Major has never managed chicken feed operations .............. he has specialized in large scale wheeling and dealing ................. we await an independent forensic audit of the BNFC in the future

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Sickened 4 years, 2 months ago

Not going to happen with the AG we got now!!

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Sickened 4 years, 2 months ago

I'm in! Do you think they would shoot me on the spot if I wear one of those white Guy Fawkes masks?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 2 months ago

You're okay until you decide to pull a white sheet over your head. Sadly, most Bahamians are much more racist than they are homophobic!

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 2 months ago

Well said!!!!! The Marketer in Chief needs to go

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 2 months ago

Waiting to find out who this person is with power to write cheques to themselves...Paul Major told us he was reporting monthly...how did he miss this?

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positiveinput 4 years, 2 months ago

We see this everyday. Persons in authority cannot account for what they are place to oversee.

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Economist 4 years, 2 months ago

Sadly there will never be a proper audit of the expenditure, never.

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 2 months ago

If he leaves Paul Major in charge of finances after this....

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