By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Democratic National Alliance’s (DNA) leader yesterday said the original postponement of this year’s Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival does not send a good message to international observers, as he backed the event’s privatisation.
Speaking before Junkanoo Carnival was returned to its initial May 4-6 dates, Branville McCartney said: “The concern I have there tells me that persons involved in Carnival or Commission seem to know the date of the election.
“That is very concerning, and that is why we will have fixed election dates under the DNA. The Prime Minister has postponed it, but that is not a good message we have sent internationally.”
Mr McCartney said a DNA government would ensure the privatisation of Junkanoo Carnival, taking it “out of the hands of the Government”.
“We will concentrate more fully on our indigenous festivals such as Junkanoo, Goombay and the like,” he added.
Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival band owners previously told Tribune Business they will set aside any “ill feelings” over this year’s postponement to help “salvage” the Bahamas’ image, despite admitting they had collectively lost “millions” due to the last-minute move.
That, though, was before the Bahamas National Festival Commission (BNFC) and the Government abruptly reversed course again yesterday, abandoning the two-week postponement and returning Junkanoo Carnival to its original May 4-6 slot.
The directive was given to revert to the originally advertised dates after the country faced widespread international backlash, and band owners projected some $1m in lost revenue.
The about-turn came two days after Prime Minister Perry Christie confirmed that the event had been postponed until after the general election.
In a press statement on Tuesday, the Bahamas National Festival Commission (BNFC) explained that it made the “difficult decision” to postpone the event due to conflicts with the general election timetable.
The commission further advised that the Grand Bahama celebrations, originally set for April 21 and 22, had been cancelled altogether with the event downsized to just one island on one weekend. That, though, has also apparently been reversed, with the Grand Bahama event now going ahead again.