Bahamians around the country and abroad took to social media yesterday to react to images of the massive Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture’s official Bay Street Christmas tree that was erected in Parliament Square.
Some were not happy with its appearance, labelling it a “Lucky Charms” tree.
“NOT impressed,” wrote user Jillian Thelioness Roberts.
“The last Bikini Bottom,” added O’Cara Nixon in a reference to a popular children’s show, with a thumbs down emoji emphasizing her view.
Oral Neely wrote, “I just [passed] Rawson Square and I swear I hear that tree ask me for $40.”
Some users got creatively involved, as a photoshopped image made the rounds and comedian Sawyer Boy got in on the action, creating a video in which he jokingly insinuated that preschool children decorated the tree.
Downtown, some locals and tourists openly took in the enormous spectacle, with some staring, pointing and some even stopping to take pictures.
“My 12-year-old could do better than that,” Shanique Knowles said.
“God knows we got to do better in The Bahamas,” she continued. “God knows this a bunch of…
“They need to have a tractor just throw that [expletive] down.”
She was interrupted by a woman driving by in a car, who stopped to yell, “Isn’t that ugly?”
“Very ugly – that look disgusting, that look stink,” Knowles replied to the passerby, who continued her tirade as she drove away.
Elvin Sawyer, 62, an Abaconian who said he just arrived on New Providence yesterday and planned to return to Abaco shortly, found the decorations “too toyish”.
“It look too kindergarten-ish,” was his view of the tree.
Kryzeo Hutchinson, meanwhile, said he had made his way downtown just for the purpose of seeing the infamous tree in person for himself.
“I was listening to the Guardian [Radio] and listening to the commentary on it, and I come down here to see what it is what they’re talking about.
“I don’t appreciate the design, I ain’t ga lie to you.
“I could see they’re trying to do the Junkanoo theme. I see what they’re trying to do. [B]ut them colors ain’t corresponding.
“The orange, the fluorescent green and that hot pink. [O]h, boy…,” said Hutchinson.
Crystal Thompson expressed: “[The tree] says nothing about The Bahamas.”
“Just knock it down and start all over from scratch, find someone new to decorate it.”
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle initially declined to comment on the matter, however Director of Culture Rowena Poitier-Sutherland was aware of the criticism.
“I think that this criticism is a part of our culture now,” Poitier-Sutherland said yesterday.
“It’s exciting to criticize a tree, so no big deal, okay, sure.
“But let’s see what the final product will be.
“Let’s give other young Bahamians an opportunity and let’s focus on the real goal of this event, which is to uplift the children of our nation.”
She added, “It’s an effort of almost every ministry and it’s an outpouring of love. So, I’d like us to focus on that.”
Emphasizing that the event is focusing on “inclusion, love, upliftment and support”, Poitier-Sutherland said, “So, if you are interested in those things, come and see what the tree looks like.
“And if you want to talk about the tree, cool; but come and get you a good time and have some love.”
She also dispelled rumors that the tree costed over $30,000, however she was unable to confirm the figures of the tree’s exact cost.
“I don’t know if I’m able to say the figure, but I know that I saw the Facebook post saying it’s $32,000 – that is absolutely ridiculous,” she said.
“It was not an astronomical fee.
“We just paid the people to decorate the tree,” she continued, noting that the company used is run by local Junkanooers.
“We’re trying to be what we call ‘forward-thinking’.”
The buzz was not all criticism, as local resident Hallie Rolle said she found the tree to be “authentic”.
“The tree is fantastic,” said George Myers from Washington, D.C., adding, “I love it!”
Mark and Cleo Brown from Fort Worth, Texas, who were returning to the country for the first time in about five years, both also said they “love” the decorations.
“Any Christmas tree is amazing,” said Mark Brown.
“We love it,” Cleo Brown piped in.
Later in the day, Minister Lanisha Rolle disclosed to a reporter that the ministry would be “fixing” the tree yesterday evening.
The annual tree lighting ceremony is scheduled to take place Friday.