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Former BNFC chairman responds to Paul Thompson

Published: Aug 11, 2017

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Dear Editor,


Mr. Paul Thompson (a native of Trinidad), in a recent episode of Love 97’s “Issues of the Day” and subsequently at his 90th birthday party, raised questions as to where The Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival money went, and why festivals in The Bahamas cost so much. He suggested that he would investigate “for free” where the money went. He further suggested that there has been no accountability and that Trinidad’s carnival costs way less than ours.

The Bahamas National Festival Commission (BNFC) has always been transparent and accountable in the manner in which it has conducted its business, with all accounting records and files available for full review by anyone interested in carrying out such reviews. In fact, the accounts of the BNFC are independently audited, and those audit reports are also available for review at the discretion of the government.

On the suggestion that Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival costs more than Trinidad’s carnival, a Google search reveals that the government of Trinidad and Tobago spent over $131,000,000 over the past three years, compared with the Bahamas government’s carnival-related spend of approximately $25,300,000 over the same period. The Bahamas’ spend, even in start-up mode, was only 19 percent of what Trinidad spent over the past three years.

In keeping with its mandate, the BNFC reduced the net cost to the government each year with a view toward a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement, where the government subsidy would be reduced to an absolute minimum.

As with any other business, the initial start-up cost was high to ensure brand recognition and product acceptance. Bahamian small and medium businesses benefitted tremendously from the carnival, as they were the major beneficiaries of the expenditure, which no doubt expanded and diversified the local cultural sector.

The investment was a good one, which established The Bahamas on the international calendar of festivals in a record three years. Bahamians and foreigners have embraced Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival beyond our initial expectations.

It should be noted also that the two cases of fraud that surfaced involving around $40,000 were immediately turned over to the police and the persons involved are still before the courts.


– Paul Major, former BNFC chairman

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