EDITOR, The Tribune.
Recently, Minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture Michael Pintard made a further statement on the government’s involvement with carnival. I found it contradictory, duplicitous, and confusing. Still, in the January 2, 2018, issue of The Tribune, Minister Pintard said, “There is no contradiction in our position and certainly no duplicity. We, as a government, are out. 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.” Huh? If carnival is truly now a private event, how is it and why is it that the government is guiding it through an amended commission? And what does it mean that “for all intents and purposes, all avenues are open?” Clearly, the Minister’s words reveal more carnival duplicity and new doubletalk.
Based on Minister Pintard’s own words, the government is not out of carnival. Yes, the government has rightly decided to discontinue the PLP government’s practise of wasting large amounts of money on carnival, but according to Minister Pintard, the FNM government plans to provide in-kind funding (e.g., giving advice and logistical support, etc.). So, the minister’s statement is contradictory and confusing. If the government provides advice, logistical support (and possible subvention) to events and people who are promoting a foreign culture, the government is not being serious or honest about not being in the business of funding a foreign culture.
Connected to Minister Pintard’s statement that carnival will be ‘privatised’, the carnival band owners are asking the government to provide police and clean up for their so-called road march (which is nothing more than public debauchery and a pornographic street parade). Clearly, there is a significant cost for these services, and if the government accedes to their request, it would be further evidence of contradiction and duplicity in Minister Pintard’s statement that no government should be in the business of funding a foreign culture. And in addition to funding a foreign culture, the government would be aiding and abetting public indecency, public drunkenness, and lawlessness, as police officers look on and do nothing.
Once again, I urge the government not to give permission to the carnival band owners to use our streets or public spaces for their pornographic parade and public debauchery. Let them use private property, and let them pay for their own security and clean up their own garbage.
Outside of our homes, we live in shared space. Our streets and public spaces are to be shared by all of us. Therefore, no individual or group should be allowed to use shared space in a manner that breaches our laws and societal norms regarding public conduct. And an overwhelming majority of Bahamian citizens and residents still believe that the live pornography, vulgarity, debauchery, and drunkenness promoted by and practised in carnival should not be allowed in our streets and public spaces. And what is worse is for the government to facilitate such conduct.
The introduction of carnival by the PLP government was and still is a national disgrace. That decision remains a moral blight on the PLP and our country. What carnival promotes does not inspire us to lift up our heads to the rising sun. Instead, it compels us to hang down our heads to the ground below, in shame. At least that’s the effect on those of us who still have a sense of shame and an awareness of what is appropriate conduct in public.
As I listen to Minister Pintard trying to justify government support for the continuation of carnival by way of facilitated privatization, I’m forced to ask the question: Why would any government who truly wants a better Bahamas facilitate the continuation of this moral blight called carnival, and become a partaker in the moral misdeeds of the Christie-led PLP government? Facilitating the continuation of carnival on the one hand and pronouncing support for Bahamian culture on the other hand is contradictory and confusing. And more than that, it is unjustifiable.
I and other right-thinking Bahamians continue to pray that Minister Pintard and the FNM government will make the right financial, moral, and cultural decision about carnival and totally and completely discontinue involvement with it. And we encourage them to remember that the person who does not himself burn the house down but advises and provides logistical support to the one who does burn it down is an accomplice in that crime.
PASTOR CEDRIC MOSS
January 8, 2018.