Musicians’ union praises duty-free instruments move
Bahamas Musicians and Entertainment Union (BMEU) President Roney Armbrister expressed gratitude after it was revealed during the government’s budget communication that musical instruments will now be duty-free.
“I’m happy,” Armbrister said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian.
“The majority of musicians will now be happy because when they go and bring their instruments in, they wouldn’t be burdened down with extra costs.”
During the budget communication in the House of Assembly last week, Finance Minister Peter Turnquest credited BMEU for pushing the duty exemption.
“I’m particularly pleased to put that in because I got a request from the musicians union for that particular item, for the removal of duty on musical instruments,” Turnquest said.
“…I’m particularly pleased to fulfill that commitment because one of the things that you will note, Mr. Speaker, is that even in our budget presentation and roll out, we want to engage the creative community because we believe fundamentally that is what is Bahamian.
“That is what projects who we are as a people and so we want to facilitate it as best we can…”
Armbrister added that the exemption means a great deal to the Bahamian music industry.
“To be honest with you, it [means] a lot because you have a lot of [people] who are in the music industry and who, for some reason, they were not able to go away and afford instruments,” he said.
“Some of them, the instruments they would like to purchase, maybe for their kids who are studying an instrument like a saxophone, a trumpet, a flute, a guitar, or bass, or drums et cetera; if they’re able to go away and purchase these then it would enhance the music industry because you would have more kids reaching out to join the industry to be musicians.
“They would be able to have an instrument at hand, at home, whenever they turn around to rehearse and practice.
“It will also help the schools too who usually purchase instruments for their musical students.”
Armbrister encouraged Bahamian musicians to take full advantage.
“I would like to ask [musicians] to take advantage of this and make use of it,” he said.
“Go out there and shop and get some nice instruments and enhance your craft.”