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D’Aguilar: Fyre Festival vendors will have to cut their losses

  • Dionisio D’Aguilar.

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Jul 07, 2017

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Although the government has recouped some of its costs as it relates to Fyre Festival, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday that the vendors may have to cut their losses because it is just “the risks of business”.

The minister said while he understands that Bahamian vendors invested into the project that flopped and made international headlines, it is simply not the government’s responsibility to reimburse anyone for a business decision they made.

“The organizers of that event and the participants in that event, and people who invested money into that event have lost their money,” D’Aguilar said.

“The Bahamas government, I believe, has recouped some of its costs because it seized a container, but I’m not 100 percent sure, but they seized a container that contained critical music equipment and staging and they used that to secure for The Bahamas government, Bahamas customs fees, landing fees, Bahamas immigration charges and to secure that money.

“So, as it relates to local vendors, unfortunately, the chap went bankrupt.

“The event crashed and burned, and you know, that is one of the risks of business.

“When you go into business there is a possibility of something happening.”

He said, “That’s a slippery road to go on.

“The government doesn’t want to get in the business of guaranteeing people who enter into business and take risks.

“Business is risky and you take a risk when you go into business, and it is not the purpose or job of the government to guarantee your return.

“You evaluate the situation when you’re in business, you make the investment, and you win some and you lose some, and that’s just business.

“But I don’t want to get into this narrative that the government should start to reimburse businesses who reevaluated the situation, took a risk and it didn’t work out, and that’s just the reality of business.”

Last Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York confirmed that CEO of Fyre Media William “Billy” McFarland was arrested and charged with wire fraud.

The statement did not say whether the guests or vendors would get refunds, but according to some of the guests who took their frustration to Twitter, they were asked to sign a blank piece of paper and were assured that they would be refunded as soon as possible.

“You know, as I look back over this with hindsight, I certainly wasn’t minister when it occurred, but the takeaway and the event that we should learn, the issue that we should learn from this event, is that we have to do a bit more due diligence on someone who comes to our country and wants to set up a festival.”

He said, “At the end of the day, these people left The Bahamas with a bad experience.”

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