Pintard dispels rumors govt considering funds for carnival
Government is holding firm on its commitment not to put any funds toward the country’s fourth Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, even as the season heats up for the carnival band owners, who fully intend to hold the road parade on May 5.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Michael Pintard confirmed that the government will not play a role in the carnival, outside of the typical regulatory oversight that it offers all festivals in the country. Pintard also dispelled rumors that were making the rounds on social media suggesting government had considered giving a budgeted sum to Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival.
Pintard added that government will only have an opinion on routes, appropriate public behavior by carnival goers and the “level of nudity” allowed on the parade route.
Carnival bands have operated over the past three years without serious incident or interference from government. However, now that government has no stake in the festival, it remains to be seen how 2018 will pan out for the bands.
The major carnival bands have all launched their costumes, with Enigma and Bahamas Masqueraders rounding out the launches last weekend.
Over the past three years, the former government spent about $30 million on Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, with detractors decrying its failed return on investment.
However, Central Bank of The Bahamas reports have touted the expected influx of visitors as credit positive for the economy. Even with no outlay from the government for 2018, the economy is sure to feel a slight boost on carnival weekend this year.
Bahamas Carnival Cruise owner Stephan Rolle can attest to a few hundred bodies in the country on carnival weekend, with his company shuttling in cruise passengers and stopover visitors.
Carnival band owners have noted that they still want government to provide police and clean-up for the road parade portion of the weekend of festivities.
Part owner of Bahamas Masqueraders Anton Dean said recently that carnival band owners were waiting for government’s confirmation that it will at least support the parade by providing these services. Dean said that is all the carnival bands are asking for.