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Carnival to be delayed

CANDIA DAMES
Managing Editor
candia@nasguard.com

Published: Apr 03, 2017

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The government has decided to postpone Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, The Nassau Guardian has learnt.

The decision was reportedly made only a day after officials of the Bahamas National Festival Commission announced plans and dates on Thursday.

Carnival was scheduled to be held in Nassau from May 4-6. No new dates have been selected.

The Guardian understands that carnival is being moved as Prime Minister Perry Christie is eyeing an election date early in May.

He reportedly wants to provide some room between the election and carnival.

The Office of the Prime Minister announced last night that Parliament will be dissolved next week Tuesday, but no election date was revealed.

Reportedly, festival commission officials had no indication of the carnival postponement before their press conference on Thursday.

At that time, they announced that there will be a significant budget reduction for carnival — a 50 percent cut from last year.

The budget cut came as the government was under fire in some quarters for expenditure on carnival. Some Bahamians see it as a waste of money.

Repeatedly, Prime Minister Perry Christie and Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe have said the purpose of carnival is to drive tourism to The Bahamas around that period.

This year’s carnival was not heavily marketed, as officials went back and forth over the budget and plans.

On Thursday, they announced international artists Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin, Denise Belfon and Beres Hammond will all perform at carnival in Nassau.

Clifford Park has been eliminated as a venue this year with all Nassau activities to take place at Arawak Cay.

Organizers are reportedly in touch with the international artists to determine what dates would work for them.

The Nassau Guardian was unable to confirm whether the carnival events set for Grand Bahama on April 28 and 29 are also being postponed.

The Guardian was told that it is too soon to say when carnival will likely take place in Nassau, but reportedly the government remains hopeful that it can pull off the events before the end of May.

It is also unclear what money, if any, is being lost as a result of the planned postponement.

Spending on carnival has emerged as an election issue, which some observers believe is one reason for the budget cut.

The government budgeted $9 million on the inaugural carnival, which took place in 2015, but ended up spending $12.9 million.

According to the commission, the 2016 carnival cost $9.8 million with the government subsidizing $8.1 million of that amount.


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