By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Bahamas Carnival Band Owners Association (BCBOA) remains “fully committed” to staging Junkanoo Carnival’s annual Road Fever Parade, according to BCBOA President Dario Terrelli, who yesterday applauded the government’s decision to move towards privatising Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival.
“We in the Band Owners Association are more so now, ready to take the bull by the horns,” Mr Terrelli told The Tribune.
On Monday, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Michael Pintard announced the government was taking steps to withdraw direct government funding from all aspects of Junkanoo Carnival.
The Marco City MP said the Minnis administration didn’t want to be in the business of funding foreign cultures.
The government is also expected to remove Junkanoo components from the event, beginning with the festival name.
Additionally, the government has also mandated any enterprise needing government subvention to host an event during the festival, namely concerts, must base its event around Bahamian acts.
In response yesterday, Mr Terrelli said the BCBOA had been aware of the government’s intention for “quite some time” and had already started the process necessary to ensure the continuation of its road parade.
Mr Terrelli said over the course of two meetings with Mr Pintard and officials at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, it was communicated to the association that the government intended to “do things differently,” and in kind, the BCBOA requested “more ownership and management.”
“So we’ve been doing what we needed to do keep this thing going. We knew this would be a challenge, but we took the challenge anyway,” he said.
Asked how the move was being perceived by those in the BCBOA, Mr Terrelli said: “It’s time to work, we all know it. Those who have all the mouth, it’s time to find the money. We’ve been going around trying to raise all of the necessary funds, so this news is just the final push. We are now working hard to go out and own (Road Fever) out right.”
In the past, the Bahamas National Festival Commission (BNFC), as an extension of the Ministry of Tourism, coordinated Junkanoo Carnival.
However, with the Minnis administration’s decision to halt all aspects of the BNFC, promotional efforts for Junkanoo Carnival 2018 were also stopped.
Asked if the move had adversely affected Junkanoo Carnival’s future viability, Mr Terrelli admitted the event had fallen behind its marketing schedule but was still “in a good place” thanks to the efforts of people who “truly love the concept.”
According to Mr Terrelli, Junkanoo Carnival is now featured on the coveted international carnival circuit, meaning the festival is promoted within international circles and during similar events.
“Carnival is here to stay,” Mr Terrelli continued. “We want to make this a year-round industry. The opportunities are there and if we play this right, the success is there to be had.”
Junkanoo Carnival 2018 is scheduled for May 4-6 in New Providence and April 28-29 in Grand Bahama.