By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Bahamas Carnival Band Owners Association is demanding a permit to host its own street parade during Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival after it said the Bahamas National Festival Commission granted a group permission to participate in the Road Fever Parade without proper certification.
The Bahamas Carnival Band Owners Association (BCBOA) President Dario Terrelli accused the Bahamas National Festival Commission (BNFC) of undermining the association’s attempts to develop the parade, saying the insertion of a National Insurance Board managed group into the parade without the proper certification “opens the floodgates” for any group to bypass the necessary processes.
“No one should be able to participate in the parade if they aren’t certified to be there,” he told The Tribune. “All 26 bands had to follow the protocol put in place. How is it that NIB can just skip that entire process and be allowed to participate?”
“How are we going to make it like this? We are trying to run businesses here and this feels as if we are being side-lined. The other 26 groups did it the right way. We don’t want persons to have the idea that anyone could pop up today and have a band on the parade route when we roll out.”
According to Mr Terrelli, the BCBOA previously requested a representative on the board of the BNFC.
He told The Tribune that once that request was declined, his organisation asked for the parade to be privatised to ensure that it ran smoothly and effectively.
Mr Terrelli said the request went unanswered and the remaining promises made by the government “fell through.”
“When we started this process the government promised assistance for a five-year stretch, that has gone out the window. We presented a cost; they gave $100 per costume last year. This year we were told that there was no (seed) money for the bands. We aren’t lashing out at the BNFC, we want the prime minister to come through on the promises he made. We can’t get funding, we can’t get a representative on the board and now the rules we have to follow aren’t being respected?”
Mr Terrelli said the association has applied for a permit to host its own Road Fever Parade during carnival, stressing “we can get it right.”
In a statement released last night, the BNFC backed considerations by the BCBOA to privatise the festival’s Road Fever Parade in the future, but said no further subsidies were going to be provided to any band.
The BNFC said it was “pleased” by the proposal to privatise the parade, insisting that the concept had always been the “vision” of the BNFC for aspects of the overall Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival festival.
“While no further subsidies will be provided to the companies, the commission will continue to market the festival and promote all of the registered Road Fever companies as originally planned.
“The commission fully supports the move to privatise the event, while remaining open to dialogue with the association in an effort to ensure a successful event,” Thursday’s statement read.
The BNFC said its main goal is to create a positive and safe environment for Bahamians and visitors who wish to participate in the street parade. The commission added that it was “proud” to see the association “take charge of this initiative.”
In March, Mr Terrelli expressed frustration over the “lack of organisation” surrounding this year’s festival.
Mr Terrelli said it was “concerning” and “very frustrating” that many of the festival’s “key details” remained unknown weeks ahead of the 2016 festival.
Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival begins today in Grand Bahama and will take place on May 5-7 in New Providence.
The BCBOA will hold a press conference today on their issues.