Carnival Organisers Seek To Clarify Profitability Comments

THE Bahamas National Festival Commission has clarified controversial statements from its chairman, Paul Major, who on Tuesday told reporters that Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival was never designed to be a “profit exercise,” stressing that it is focused on reducing government investment and increasing revenue.

A statement released by the BNFC yesterday said the commission’s mandate “has always been to significantly and positively impact” the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“The nuance between profitability and GDP might sound trite, like a play on words, but the commission would like to assure the public that there is a real difference between the two objectives and it is not a matter of semantics,” the statement said.

“Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival is absolutely an economic stimulus exercise, and it must have a positive economic impact for it to be justified. This is why the commission’s mandate from the government has always been to stimulate small and medium enterprises; to create year round employment in the cultural sector; and to positively impact GDP.

“The economic plan that was approved by the government in 2015 first introduced this mandate and it has never changed. In each post-event report that was presented to the government and to the media, the commission accounted for its performance on the basis of the mandate.”

The commission said it is steadily moving to achieving these goal posts, noting that the GDP impact of the festival for 2016 was $70m by its estimates.

The BNFC added that the festival engaged 278 small and medium businesses while “dozens” of new ones were created.

“Further, the data clearly supports the fact that there was a material increase in the number of tourists at the events this year compared to last year,” the BNFC said.

“Despite how alarming it sounds, the commission’s position that Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival “is not a profit exercise” was never intended to suggest that it is not an economic exercise. The commission remains committed to reducing the government’s subsidy year over year, by improving efficiencies, privatising elements of the festival and increasing revenue.

“The commission generated $1.2 million in direct revenue from ticket sales and sponsorship this year to offset the government’s investment. And it reduced the government’s contribution by $4.99 million (38 per cent). Its larger economic goal, however, is to help privately owned small and medium sized businesses to become profitable.”

The BNFC added that the government’s direct return on its investment comes in the form of taxes, increased GDP and ultimate economic growth.

“The 2016 event generated $6.3 million in estimated tax revenue,” the BNFC said. “The indirect return on investment, which is the more significant and important measurement of success, accrues to the thousands of employees and Bahamian business owners connected to Junkanoo Carnival.”

The BNFC has come under fire after finally revealing the figures associated with the second instalment of carnival, with some critics calling for planning for the next event to be suspended until a better financial plan could be implemented.

On Monday, officials revealed the total cost for this year’s carnival event was $9.8m with a government subsidy of $8.1m.

A day later, when pressed by reporters over the financial implications of the annual event, Mr Major condemned opponents of the festival who continue to look at the country’s annual investment, instead of the carnival’s “economic impact”.

He said the festival was never and will never be about turning a profit on investment, explaining that no variation of carnival hosted around the world has generated a profit for its host nation.

“Nowhere in the world is a carnival a profit venture. In Trinidad they spend, I think we estimated somewhere around, based on the conversion, $40m a year,” Mr Major said on Tuesday.

He claimed the success of such a festival must be measured by the thousands of persons that benefit from it indirectly and the economic benefits stimulated by it.

Yesterday, the BNFC said it is committed to full transparency, adding that its 2015 independent audit will be completed next month while it has already commissioned an audit for the 2016 carnival.


ThisIsOurs 4 years, 1 month ago

"The commission said it is steadily moving to achieving these goal posts, noting that the GDP impact of the festival for 2016 was $70m by its estimates."

Wow, even the clarification needs a clarification. Got some input on this, and from what I understand, GDP impact is a function of money coming in from OUTSIDE the country. Is the commission saying that we had touristic activity that amounted to 70 million dollars, in one weekend? Again from what I understand, this non-GDP-impact pattern is also seen in the gambling houses, they collect a lot of money but it's recycled, nothing comes in from the outside so there's no real growth in the economy.


banker 4 years, 1 month ago

You are absolutely correct. Economic offset means new dollars coming in. There has been no GDP impact if there was not at least 70,000 tourist spending at least $1000 each or 35,000 tourists spending $2000 each (to make the 70 million).

The 70 million is a bold, barefaced lie !!!


ThisIsOurs 4 years, 1 month ago

"Bahamas Total Debt Over 90% Of Gdp...The Bahamas was yesterday said to be “in a very, very dark position” after the Central Bank revealed that total public sector debt was a mammoth $7.604 billion, a sum equivalent to more than 90 per cent of national economic output (GDP)"


The_Oracle 4 years, 1 month ago

Spending your way to the bottom, while the typical Government method, cannot be spun in any way other than a complete waste of time and money. "estimates"? Carnival is and ever was a placebo designed to get Bahamians to forget their troubles, forget Government ineptitude for a week end and accept the Government induced hangover that follows. A Perry Christie inspired disgrace.


Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 1 month ago

Carnival is just another toilet the corrupt Christie-led PLP government has put in place to flush away to PLP cronies VAT dollars that should have been going towards reducing our national debt and debt to GDP ratio. And Christie's spineless puppet, Halkitis, has the nerve to tell us our national debt and debt to GDP ratio have been reduced to the extent they would be even higher if VAT had not been introduced. We are not stupid Mr Halkitis.....the Bahamian people were promised that net VAT collected would be applied to reduce our national debt as opposed to being wasted on all sorts of other ridiculous things with the pretense that had our VAT dollars not been so wasted the PLP government would have had to borrow even more to fund its wasteful and corrupt endeavours. Yes, Mr Christie and Mr Halkitis, we all know well the wool that you two pulled over our eyes with your many lies and obvious broken promises about why VAT had to be introduced. And we are going to make you both pay dearly for the havoc you have wreaked on our economy by introducing VAT rather than engaging in a properly planned austerity progam to reduce the serious wastage caused by the failed policies and corruption within the PLP government.


MonkeeDoo 4 years, 1 month ago

These are the times when a population with a D- grade intelligence is a boon for the governing party. These people have no idea what $7.604 billion is and think that GDP means Good Damned Party. And some bright spark wanted to tell Robert Myers not to talk about devaluation because it couldn't happen. Christie is hoping it won't happen before the election but as soon as the CB run low on those greenbacks they will have to ask for a bailout. I don't think we will see any FDI for some time to come. Not even Chinese FDI. WHy isn't Terrance Bastian already looking at the Carnival expenditure. This is just one of the ways that they can milk the Treasury without being noticed. Could be 100 million next year with the PLP election and so on around the same time. I loved the photo in the Tribune of Wilchcombe looking at the Carnival Dancers as if he had even the slightest rise in testosterone.


screwedbahamian 4 years, 1 month ago

With these estimates of this and that, our national rating should be AAA. Maybe the commission should be speaking to these ratings agencies. SERIOUSLY!!!


realfreethinker 4 years, 1 month ago

This should answer the spin of Paul Major and his criminal partners" plp government"



The_Oracle 4 years, 1 month ago

With no foreign investors, not even the bottom feeders arriving, there is no one left to pillage but Bahamians. And the treasury. Notice how many grants and funds they're accessing these days? Does anyone think anything more than 20% actually goes to the designated purpose? Used to be they were too lazy to go after these funds, there was enough to steal off the top of FDI. Not any more. VAT will be increased to 15% next year, mark my words.


sheeprunner12 4 years, 1 month ago

Look at the model of the Long Island regatta .......... 75% of the operating costs are fundraised and government contribute 25% ............ that is what should happen with every festival, regatta or carnival ........... but most of these associations expect the government to fund their activities fully .......... no local initiative, accounting or incentive to be independent or responsible


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