By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Junkanoo Carnival band owners yesterday said 2017 may be the “toughest year yet’, blaming the postponement debacle and pre-election politics for “dismal” costume sales.
Dario Tirelli, the Bahamas Carnival Band Owners Association’s (BCBOA) president, told Tribune Business: “This year has been troubling”.
With the Nassau leg of the event just days away, on May 4-6, Mr Tirelli said the bands were spending “night and day” trying to ensure that costumes are available for their customers. They are also working “hand in hand” with organisers to help promote the event.
“Costume sales have been dismal to a point,”Mr Tirelli said. “We lost a lot of persons due to the postponement issue. A lot of persons cancelled immediately when they heard the story.
“We are still trying to share and send out as much information as possible, but this is going to be the toughest year without a doubt after the success we had in the first two years.”
Carnival organisers have already acknowledged that attendance at the event’s kick-off in Grand Bahama over the weekend “was not as robust” as last year’s event.
The Nassau event, set for May 4-6, had been postponed to May 18-20 due to conflicts with the general election timetable. Following two days of widespread backlash both locally and internationally over the last-minute delay, and the cancellation of the Grand Bahama event, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe announced that the original dates were reinstated, along with the Grand Bahama component.
“The postponement issue had a significant impact on us,” said Mr Tirelli. “We are optimistic and we will follow through with our plans as much as possible. The success of it will still be in our hands.
“This is a business but this year has been troubling. The election has certainly been playing on us with the opposition politics on Carnival. I think we lost some local revellers. They were upset at the postponement and some of them are not coming back to the table. It’s too late for the international revellers but hopefully they will come back next year.”