By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
JUNKANOO Carnival band owners yesterday reiterated their desire to take ownership of the festival's rights, and requested participation in talks over its privatisation.
Dario Tirelli, the Bahamas Carnival Band Owners Association's (BCBOA) president, told Tribune Business: "What we are asking for is more ownership of the Carnival brand, and to work more closely with the Festival Commission in terms of the Road March. "We want to also be a part of the discussion with the Government on the privatisation of the event.
"We also want to ensure that we benefit from all activities that are involved with Carnival, and that is how it is done throughout the region with the band owners' associations," he added.
Michael Pintard, minister of youth, sports and culture, said the Minnis administration aims to completely privatise Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival (BJC) ahead of the 2018 festival.
"If there is another private citizen at the table looking to fund the event, we want to be a part of the discussion," Mr Tirelli said.
"The people who are coming here are persons coming in through the bands. We are doing our international marking and promotions. We just need the back up support with marketing and public relations.
"We want to be a part of the privatisation discussion. We want to own the rights to the festival itself. We have met with Minster Pintard and the conversation was very positive.
"We are just seeking the Government's assistance as much as possible, in kind, for what we need for Road March. Since we are bringing the revellers to the country we want to get returns from the concert activities, but we are willing to put up the money to make that happen also."
The inaugural event in 2015 was said to have cost $12.9 million. The Bahamas National Festival Commission (BNFC) reported that the 2016 carnival cost $9.8 million, of which $8.1 million was subsidised by the Government.
This year's Carnival report has yet to be released, but Paul Major, outgoing BNFC chairman, said $4 million was spent on the 2017 version.