Tents at the Fyre Festival site for the event.
By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
CUSTOMS Comptroller Dr Geannine Moss yesterday defended the integrity of the Customs official named in a recent documentary on the failed Fyre Festival.
Dr Moss confirmed all import fees owed to the Customs department have been paid, adding she was disappointed by the reaction of Bahamians on social media to scandalous assertions made by event producer Andy King in the Netflix film “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened”.
Mr King claimed he was asked by festival founder Billy McFarland to perform sexual favours on a Department of Customs official in exchange for the release of imported water. Mr King said he was prepared to perform the act but the customs official was nice to him, and released the water on the condition the import fees were promptly paid by organizers.
"What was very disappointing was that Bahamians in general rather than stand up and say who is this foreign entity blackening the eye of the government official, customs official, ministers of government," Dr Moss said, "social media decided to cannibalize the officer and also the members of parliament current and former. And I think we go right back to the black crab syndrome of pulling one another down.
She continued: "I didn’t hear anybody pulling down that documentary or demonizing Netflix or Andy King or anybody else and I think that's what's wrong with our society.
Dr Moss said: "The officer in question is a veteran of some 34 years and he has served through many islands in the Bahamas, all the island persons know him very well.
"There has never been any kind of scandal on his professional or personal life and I think that’s grossly unfair of how social media took a hold of that to the extent that they even put somebody’s picture there, and purported it to be him and it wasn’t.
"He’s an upstanding fine officer in this department," she added.
Dr Moss spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a national security conclave at Island House.
She explained it was a longstanding practice for Customs to receive a deposit for goods imported on a temporary basis.
Dr Moss underscored all import fees owed by festival organizers had been paid, adding leftover goods like mattresses were auctioned off in Exuma last summer.
“That festival happened April 2017," she said, "deposits were collected. The officer in charge of the whole Exuma customs was very much aware of it. That festival was endorsed by the ministry of tourism and there were a succession of meetings prior to the actual event as is required for any event coming into the Bahamas.”
Dr Moss continued: "Any exemptions or waivers would come from the Ministry of Finance or Tourism to accommodate any event that's coming in here."