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Columns : Letters to The Editor Last Updated: Jul 28, 2018 - 1:02:43 AM


Kirkland H. Bodie: Show us the money
By Kirkland H. Bodie Musician/Producer/Activist
Jul 25, 2018 - 1:48:11 PM

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Hello again my Bahamian citizens, another year has gone by, and it baffles me that there is still not one word being said in any quarters about our thirty million, plus, dollars ($30,000,000+) that was spent, wasted or pocketed on the so-called Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival.  

I am still waiting on the forensic report to be tabled in the House Of Assembly concerning their fiasco of a ‘carnival’ for the past three years of 2015, 2016 and 2017. 

Firstly, let me break this down, most of us broke Bahamians cannot fathom what a million dollars is, so let’s make this as simple as possible.  A million dollars is a thousand, thousand dollars, so going forward let’s put this in perspective.  The Bahamas Festival Committee spent thirty million dollars, plus, in three years of carnivals.  Everything I am saying is what they have said in the. news media, except I am going to break it down somewhat for those who don’t understand the entertainment business and I welcome the Bahamas Festival Committee to refute my words.
 
In the first Junkanoo Carnival they paid Machel Montano, One Hundred Thousand Dollars, again, these are their words.  They said they paid Baha Men, Sixty Thousand Dollars.  The Music Masters Competition paid out a total of Fifty Thousand Dollars, each year, so for three years that equals One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars.  The following year they paid Wyclef Jean and Destra a total of One Hundred Thousand Dollars, again their words, so give or take a few thousand dollars here or there.  So far that’s a total of only Four Hundred and Ten Thousand Dollars.
 
Artists like Tarrus Riley made a few thousand dollars, but no where in the vicinity of what Machel, or Wyclef received.  I’m not sure of the T-Connection Band’s salary, but they are Bahamians, and we can only guess how they fared.
 
The final year of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival (2017) was crippled and the numbers were even more dismal.  The reason I have not brought up the Bahamian entertainers is because they were disrespected and paid “peanuts” compared to the foreign artists, throughout the three years of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival.  That also includes the few foreign bands that were brought in on the first year, they also received chicken feed.  For the three years of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival’s existence, with all of the artists and entertainers put together, foreign and local performers, they were all paid less than one million dollars, in total.  I drew attention to the highly paid artists to let the readers grasp where the so-called lion share of that money paid out to the entertainers went.

So my question is, where is the other twenty-nine million, plus, dollars?  Who and what was it spent on?  I would give them the benefit of the doubt and even throw in an extra million on entertainment, so like I said before, you can take away a thousand here, and give a few hundred there, but the numbers don’t add up. 

A million dollars is a lot of money, in fact, at the press conference for this year’s 2018 privatized carnival organizers said they could pull off their event at a cost of Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars, that was also in the news media reports.  What do these guys know that the Bahamas Festival Committee did not know?  And who will be held to account for wasting our monies?  The Cabinet of the Bahamas at the time approved the millions of dollars that were released to someone or some group.

A commission of inquiry should be held on this matter.  Answers need to be given. The Bahamas Treasury needs to be reimbursed for the people’s funds that were wasted on the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival event.  Some folks need to be held to account.  This could be easily fixed if only we have the will to do so.  The Bahamas Festival Committee, or the Cabinet of the Bahamas, only has to bring forth the receipts and records from those past three carnival events and show us the proof. 

Where are all of those voices that praised the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, why have they all gone silent?  There are many who benefited and there are many that owe us.  Thirty million, plus, dollars is a lot of money,

Show us the money, please.

Kirkland H. Bodie


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