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Carnival - No More Money, We’Re Out

By RICARDO WELLS 

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

THE Minnis administration aims to completely privatise Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival (BJC) ahead of its 2018 festival, according to Culture Minister Michael Pintard, who yesterday stressed no government should be in the business of funding a foreign culture.

Mr Pintard, who has been adamant about reforming both BJC and the Bahamas National Festival Commission (BNFC), in an interview with The Tribune asserted if the private sector and entrepreneurs deemed the various components of BJC practical, now would be the time for them to “take the lead”.

He added while the government remains opposed to providing any major funding for BJC moving forward, options for subvention would be made available to any group or company that could present a quality plan to host and produce one of the events.

“There is no contradiction in our position and certainly no duplicity. We, as a government, are out,” the Marco City MP insisted. “This is now a private venture that will be guided by the government through an amended commission. But for all intents and purposes, all avenues are open.”

He continued: “If a private enterprise wants to go ahead, this is your time, but we will not take the people’s money and use it for this venture. We don’t believe, in a free enterprise economy, the government should stand in the way of any entrepreneur or group that sees the possibility to earn money from this.”

Mr Pintard, who said his ministry was still awaiting the results of an ongoing audit into the BNFC, said the Minnis administration made the decision to withhold substantial funding from BJC due to the lack of cultural benefits. To that end, Mr Pintard said the government chose to expand its investment into ingenious festivals and events.

“It comes down to culture. The people’s money will not be used to further a foreign culture. That does not go to say we won’t support Bahamian companies and entrepreneurs interested in holding events and concerts. We simply won’t spearhead anything along those lines.

“There is no particular musical genre that does not have the right to apply for government subvention. I’ve always advocated that the most a government should do when supporting a foreign culture is to provide subvention, not complete funding.”

While refusing to emphatically state that the government was out on footing the bill for international acts to perform at Junkanoo Carnival, Mr Pintard told The Tribune: “What I am saying is that we will not spend more money to advance a foreign product. We are interested in a concert series but will love that to be privatised. We have no issue in collaborating as long as it is a Bahamian-based concert series.”

In 2015, the government spent $11.3m on the inaugural festival, going over its initial budget of $9m. The total cost of the first carnival $12.9m, with the rest covered by sponsors.

In 2016, the festival ran a cost of $9.8m, $8.1m of which was subsidised by the government.

The Minnis administration has not released the BJC’s 2017 financial report.

Comments

TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrades! Well duhhhhhhh. why not encourage the members of the Imperial "Red Shorts" cabinet to sign over Kanaval to the combined united forces the "Haitian Flag Day?".......How much more foreigner can you gets?
How better to Unite all natives as one group to promote we own Boxing Day (or whatever date) Junkanoo.... Do we really need to play around with a New Year's Junkanoo?

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ohdrap4 3 months, 2 weeks ago

you finally said something brilliant.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrade Ohdrap4, why not they have a built-in population and tons of colourful and musical creativeness expressions.... I can see it expanding to a Haitian Crafts Market catering tourists. Who knows, just maybe the Haitians can do something with Kanaval that we natives have yet not managed to do with Junkanoo? I think it can become a tourism cash cow. This idea should be immediately jumped on by all with the Kreyol connections.

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ohdrap4 3 months, 2 weeks ago

HEHE, all dem cronies now have to go work for a living.

If Carnival is a money making thing, prove it. Let the plps and promoters mortgage their homes to do it. (that is if they have not already stopped paying their loan at BOB).

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

"he added while the government remains opposed to providing any major funding for BJC moving forward, options for subvention would be made available to any group or company that could present a quality plan to host and produce one of the events"

Essentially the status quo holds, the words have been shuffled slightly but the govt fully intends to subsidize carnival.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrades! No More Money in Public Purse, We’re Run Out.... now where did I hear that before.... oh yeah, KP.
Junkanoo is like raising honey Bees locally, it's all about you're Bees and their surroundings..... while Kanaval, she gone Trinni.

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sheeprunner12 3 months, 2 weeks ago

This stupid experiment should be discouraged from ever happening again in our country ....... there is NOTHING to benefit from dabbling with Carnival ...... Junkanoo needs to be preserved and commercialized for the global market because its energy and display far exceeds Carnival.

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PatMac 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The half yearly unemployment rate is normally updated just after Carnivale. If they cant find a Suitor to take this over, it will be interesting to see the impact on both unemployment and GDP (i.e. how much money actually flows during Carnivale).

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Porcupine 3 months, 2 weeks ago

A great decision. Now, will we really put our money where our mouths are and support our own? KB, Elon Moxey, and others, deserve more support than we currently give them.

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ashley14 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Make it more like New Orleans Mada Gra. People come in droves to be a part of it. It's very profitable. Most people outside of the Bahamas don't know about Junkanoo. It would be profitable then.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrades! So much talk what is required is the re-branding Junkanoo to appeal outsiders. I am not buying that. Turn Kanaval over to 'Haitian Flag Day' and be done it.

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The_Oracle 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Still copy catting, no original ideas, It takes on average 5-10 years to develop any festival type event, even Golf Tournaments with big names. Calle Ocho, the Carnival in Miami, mardi Gras, The Trini Carnival, etc etc. All privately organized BTW and with Government sanction. A waste of time and Money UNLESS driven by private sector interests with money VESTED in its success. The profit motive coupled with competency is still the cleanest operation. Note Government appointees have neither of the above save short term private payouts.

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The_Oracle 3 months, 2 weeks ago

BTW, our festivals are staring you in the face. Homecoming festivals scattered throughout these islands and their settlements. However, accommodations and infrastructure are substandard. There is where the investments should grow, both Government and Private sector. And that is a long term game, which should have been underway since '73. Irrespective of petty politics and short sightedness.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 2 weeks ago

We can blame the likes of Sebas Bastian, Perry Christie and Alfred Sears for the very costly Carnival experiment.

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