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Updated - Carnival U-Turn: Festival Back To Its Original Dates After Complaints

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

AFTER enraging festival stakeholders and participants with an impromptu date change, the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival (BJC) is back on for its original date of May 4 to 6 in Nassau with an April kick off in Grand Bahama after an “intervention” by Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.

Despite the news, band owners are still predicting big losses as a result of the confusion.

After two days of widespread backlash over a last-minute delay to the controversial festival and the cancellation of the Grand Bahama events, Mr Wilchcombe yesterday announced that the original dates were reinstated, along with the Grand Bahama component.

However, Bahamas Carnival Band Owners Association (BCBOA) President Dario Tirelli told The Tribune the event’s brand reputability and the 2017 festival have been dealt a major blow. He said bands have indicated that nearly 3,000 participants or “revellers” were expected to take part in the festival.

In a statement yesterday, it was explained that Mr Wilchcombe’s intervention was made after consultation with Prime Minister Perry Christie, and took into consideration the overwhelming cries of disadvantaged stakeholders and guests.

The statement indicated that the Ministry of Tourism plans to work closely with the Bahamas National Festival Commission (BNFC) as it ramps up marketing and promotion in New Providence and Grand Bahama.

“The Minister of Tourism said whilst he understands the thinking that led to the decision made by the Carnival Commission that resulted in the change of dates for the annual event,” the statement read, “the minister is satisfied that after full consideration of all matters pertaining to this year’s carnival an intervention was necessary.”

The statement continued: “The intervention was predicated by the voices of the local stakeholders and in consideration of the many guests who have made preparations to travel to the Bahamas for this year’s carnival on the original dates.”

Mr Tirelli said the bandowners would try to salvage the battered reputation of the event. “We’re all excited,” he said. “We’re meeting now to start planning and looking at countdown from today, and to coin our press release respectively to go to the world. We are going to try to make a concerted effort to turn this around, but we have lost.

“This is still a big financial loss, some people just ain’t coming. Persons have already cancelled their tickets, tried to get refunds, messed up their plans.”

Mr Tirelli also noted that bands will not be able to request any financial assistance from the government ahead of the festival to counterbalance the misstep, as Parliament will be dissolved on Tuesday.

“Even if we ask for refund by Tuesday the House (of Assembly) is dissolved. We presented them with a figure and we’re trying to be optimistic. We will try to see if we can salvage the reputability of carnival,” he added.

The complete turnaround comes two days after Mr Christie confirmed that the event had been postponed until after the general election.

In a press statement on Tuesday, the BNFC explained that it made the “difficult decision” to postpone the event to May 18 to 20, due to conflicts with the general election timetable. At that time, it announced that the Grand Bahama celebrations were cancelled altogether with the event downsized to just one island on one weekend.

Minister of National Security Dr Bernard Nottage has said the general election will be held in early May, but a specific date has not yet been announced.

In the wake of the earlier delay, scores of persons expressed shock and disgust that an event of its magnitude could be arbitrarily set aside, with many accusing organisers of sabotaging the fledgling event and negatively impacting the culture of the popular showpiece.

The BNFC and key stakeholders met on Tuesday over how best they could mitigate the local and international fallout from the impromptu date change for the third annual event, with insiders projecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.

Last night, Mr Tirelli said he hopes that the debacle will sensitise the commission and the government on the importance of consultation with band owners. He noted that the BCBOA did not have any representation on the BNFC, despite their request.

Junkanoo Carnival will launch in Grand Bahama April 28 and 29 when the Music Masters semi-finals competition will be held.

Comments

SP 1 year, 8 months ago

.................................................. "WTF Is REALLY Happening ...............................................

Are we going to waste this money and muck up Junkanoo Carnival or what?

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truetruebahamian 1 year, 8 months ago

Unfinished idea, big promises, man- I am so disappointed - who gets the money? the revellers don't care, we pay for all of the governments expenses and mistakes. Why can't Christie come clean - overpaying certain persons when there are clear losses under their command does not bolster up a lingering leading into failing economic truth. Hold back, don't waste and be proud of your decision to be careful and wise.

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John 1 year, 8 months ago

“I feel I change my mind all the time. And I sort of feel that's your responsibility as a person, as a human being – to constantly be updating your positions on as many things as possible. And if you don't contradict yourself on a regular basis, then you're not thinking.” ― Malcolm Gladwell

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athlete12 1 year, 8 months ago

Great author but our politicians are doing this at another level because they continually act against the people's wishes.

Like SP said WTF is really happening?

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Cobalt 1 year, 8 months ago

I swear........ this plp government is nothing short of a bunch of bungling, baboons. And the Bahamian public are their porch-monkey offspring.

The Bahamas is in a severe crisis for the ages. Yet, the Bahamian people is more concerned about dancing in the streets??? I guess the only thing you can really do for a monkey is throw him a banana.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 8 months ago

BOYCOTT CARNIVAL!!!!!!!!!!! .................... HAVE A REFERENDUM ON CHRISTIE!!!!!!!!!

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 8 months ago

This was the best decision they could have made in this comedy of errors. They should have made it on the first day. Now it just looks like craziness. These people have lost their minds. They're clearly panicking.

I hope the FNM has prepared their 100 day strategy for their new administration. No going in and showboating, things are in bad shape. Get ready to work.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 8 months ago

Agreed ............ a lot of pork-cutting has to take place ...... Don't make any excuses for the PLP Budget ......... create a stop-gap 6 month Budget and begin anew with a Calendar Year Budget 2018 ........ this budget cycle makes NO sense when compared to the annual filings of most accounting schedules in our country .......... GO BACK TO A JANUARY-DECEMBER BUDGET

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Alex_Charles 1 year, 8 months ago

This is what they call the Perry shuffle guys!

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Seaman 1 year, 8 months ago

In all fairness..... It's to late to cancel carnival. Too many people here and abroad have made plans. It's not fair for them to pay for Mr Christie's lack of vision. It should not have been planned for this year, knowing our budget and being an election year. Tide has turned on the PLP and they are in panic mode. How things look now, it's possible the FNM could easily win by a major land slide.

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MonkeeDoo 1 year, 8 months ago

This a PLP ploy to look sensible but back down at the slughtest opportunity.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 8 months ago

Possibility, but the absolute nuclear fallout from playing like they would cancel, just to get a pat on the back for cancelling and then get another for restoring the date would be hard to justify and the height of dumbnity and assinineness.

But you could be right.

What they just put the country through will put them down in history as the number one most bumbling government ever. Donald Trump's will be second.

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ashley14 1 year, 8 months ago

I wish I could make Carnival. I have to finish the school year. I'll be there this summer. Hopefully to see some friends from years past. I would like to come back to stay, but I have to work. I may move to Fla. so it's easier to come visit.

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banker 1 year, 8 months ago

This is just like the Romans having the gladiator spectacles in the Roman Coliseum to keep the inhabitants distracted while they mismanaged and stole from the treasury to enrich themselves.

Y'all go to Carnival and don't you worry your lil heads about joblessness and such. Live it up. Have fun. You only live once, so celebrate!

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 8 months ago

I thought you were going to say like the Romans telling the guards to save the Christians... 15 minutes after they ordered the lions loose

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Sickened 1 year, 8 months ago

Second paragraph said "International backlash". That's as far as I got reading and went straight to the comments. I'm still friggin' laughing! I don't know what the bigger joke is... our "carnival" or our government.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 8 months ago

What's truly sickening about all of this is that honest hardworking Bahamian taxpayers will once again be saddled with at least $12 million of their tax dollars subsidizing a big street party for known local thugs like Sebas Bastian; a ridiculous street party that handsomely rewards mainly foreign entertainers and foreign bands from other countries in our region of the world.

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TalRussell 1 year, 8 months ago

Comrades! Calls to take the politics out Kanaval - is easier said than feasible. While Bahamalanders want to believe in Junkanoo and open to give Kanaval a chance, but not as some Trinidadian event - even there the bold-faced politics have turned-off many.
Comrades, there must be a new direction to take a U-Turn - away from political interference's in everything under the sun - we Bahamaland?

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 8 months ago

What month is it? April? BJN said "elections will be in early May but he's not sure of the date". Seriously? I can't believe these people plan elections for the week after carnival. If you didn't know before you know now, they taking all of you for fools and they don't care nothing about the good of the country

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 8 months ago

The election will be on May 9th or 10th ............ right after the Carnival binge and right before Mothers' Day ................ And roses are red ............. FNM!!!!!!!!

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John 1 year, 8 months ago

@Cobalt..are you calling all Bahamians porch 🐒 monkeys or only the black ones?

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MassExodus 1 year, 8 months ago

These people in government our managing our country, and they can't even manage themselves. This has got to be a bad dream...

If your going to waste the tax payers money on a party, although we have far more pressing needs, at least don't mess ppl around on the dates. Ya'll need to think before you make public statements, afterall you are the government...

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 8 months ago

I already see their argument for why they spent 20 million instead of 5, "it was what the people wanted, we cancelled grand Bahama and the people asked for it". They've even promised to up the marketing. This is really scary. It's clear they were out of money, If it weren't so messy I'd believe they planned it all just to spend the money they wanted. They never changed the ads, that was weird.

Anyway I suggest to Dr Minnis that he look closer at what privatization really means before he so casually agrees to it. This event is expensive and no private enterprise will/can run it without a government subsidy. When they run into trouble they will run to government. Then there's the decency factor, once privatized that is out the door. I suggest you keep oversight over this festival if it continues and establish decency rules as a prerequisite, roll this genie back. I'd also negotiate Bahamianization if ONE government dollar is spent on it.

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