By NATARIO MCKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Junkanoo Carnival band owners were yesterday said to have their “fingers crossed’” they will still make a profit from this year’s event, with the postponement reversal having driven away both international and local revellers.
Dario Tirelli, the Bahamas Carnival Band Owners Association’s (BCBOA) president, told Tribune Business: “We have definitely lost some international revellers. I really can’t give a percentage on that right now. We have lost persons coming with the revellers who would not have actually participated on the parade; friends and family members of revellers who were just going to tag along.
Mr Tirelli added: “We are trying to do a joint marketing effort with all the bands to get back on track. Every band is trying to build up their crowd.
“We feel as though the festival will be a success. We will be at the parade as one unit. All the bands will hit this parade and go out as one unit. We had crowds coming in from every continent in the world, some of the major cities that have a Carnival.
“We are also hoping that the Festival Commission will build a better relationship with us. We have our fingers crossed that it will be a success. It should be a profit but I think it will less than we anticipated.””
The Grand Bahama Carnival kick-off is back on its original April 28-29 aschedule, with the main event set for May 4-6 in Nassau. The Government intervened last week to put Junkanoo Carnival back to its original dates, just days after its organisers announced a two-week postponement because of the upcoming general election.
The Bahamas National Festival Commission (BNFC) had previously announced it had made the “difficult decision” to postpone the Nassau leg to May 18-20, pushing it back two weeks from the original May 4-6 date.
The potential conflict with general election rallies was cited as the reason, with the Grand Bahama leg of Junkanoo Carnival originally scrapped.
The announcement, though, triggered a major backlash from the local and international community. The Ministry of Tourism, in a statement last week, explained that the festival will take place on the original dates of May 4-6 and April 28-29.
This came after Obie Wilchcombe, minister of tourism, intervened in the matter after consultation with Prime Minister Perry Christie. The statement indicated that the Ministry of Tourism plans to work with the Bahamas National Festival Commission as it ramps up marketing and promotion in New Providence and Grand Bahama.