By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence said it found no “definitive or provable evidence that corruption took place” at the 2018/2019 Boxing Day and New Year’s Day parades, saying the person at the centre of the controversy stonewalled investigators.
“The JCNP also presented the matter for police involvement, after which it was determined that the matter was not a criminal matter for which police involvement was appropriate,” the JCNP said in a statement yesterday.
Several recordings of calls from a purported female judge to George “Bommer” Armbrister, a costume designer for the Genesis Junkanoo group, sparked concern and led to an investigation.
Mr Armbrister claimed he was engaging in a sting operation. Shaun Adderley, chairman of Genesis, backed him up and Silbert Ferguson, the former chairman of the JCNP, said the organisation took the allegations seriously because the calls appeared to originate from inside the JCNP’s Norfolk House location on Frederick Street, access to which is tightly controlled by the parade management team and reserved for parade operators and judges.
The JCNP appointed an investigation committee. The committee interviewed parade management team members and several judges.
“Additionally, several attempts were made to interview the individual at the centre of the corruption allegation but were unsuccessful due to the individual’s failure to cooperate with the investigation,” the JCNP said.
The organisation said the alleged acts negatively impacted the Junkanoo community and its “partners in government and corporate Bahamas”. This has prompted it to make several changes ahead of the upcoming parades.
There will be a revamped judges course that will include ethics training, a revised judges compensation package, the elimination of personal mobile devices while judging, the introduction of a new digital scoring platform to eliminate paper scoring and a revamped standard operating procedure.
There will also be new people selected to judge the upcoming parades, with judges from last year’s pool not selected this time.
“In conclusion, the JCNP wishes to also advise the public that although the investigation was inconclusive, based on the lack of cooperation from the alleged individuals’ claim of corruption/bribery, the JCNP is looking to ensure that any such further allegations cannot be levied against the JCNP,” the organisation said.