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2005-12-09 20:00:34

Neville Wisdom's Annual Junkanoo Controversy

Minister says Junkanoo belongs to all Bahamians but bidding process ignored as select group is chosen to profit from parades.

A newly formed Junkanoo organisation will take charge of the New Providence parades from the Government it was revealed yesterday.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Neville Wisdom, said the Government is stepping back and handing over the management of the New Providence parades to the "Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence" (JCNP) in a bid to allow the Junkanoo artists to share in the revenue and the "direct management" of the parades.

"The contract that we sign today will allow groups to become involved in the direct management of Junkanoo and permit them to share directly in the proceeds of the parade," said Minister Wisdom.

According to Minister Wisdom, Junkanoo belongs to all Bahamians, But Junkanooers who are intimately involved in the parades may have a greater interest in the festival than the average Bahamian.

He said that the formation of the new entity will transfer the business of Junkanoo to the Junkanoo community. In addition, it is expected that the committee will help to further develop the artistry and business of Junkanoo.

"We intend to empower the Junkanoo community, providing Junkanoo practitioners for the first time with the management of the bleachers and ticketing, as well as the responsibility for funding that arises from that management," said Minister Wisdom.

The Government in addition to establishing the JCNP has set up other committees throughout the Family Islands to manage their individual senior Junkanoo parades. However, Minister Wisdom said the first official turnover of the management of a senior Junkanoo Parade to one of the newly formed committees was initiated in New Providence as it is the heart and soul of where Junkanoo resides.

In its first official step of management the JCNP signed contracts with the C3 seating company and the Tajiz ticketing company yesterday.

Both companies, which are Bahamian owned and operated, were awarded contracts by the committee.

According to the contractual agreements, the JCNP will pay the Tajiz ticketing company a flat fee of $40,000 and the C3 seating company will be paid a flat fee of $480,000.

"The great advantage to this new system is that the gross sales of tickets for Junkanoo, which has always generated monies to go toward the prize money of Junkanoo, will go directly to the Junkanoo community, who will cover the expenses of managing the parade," said Minister Wisdom. He added that the net profits generated from ticket sales would be used for prize money.

Minister Wisdom said the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants would oversee the ticketing in addition to the auditing of all of the JCNP accounts and an independent accounting firm will be responsible for tallying the results of the parades. He also said the Government and the Bahamian public would be informed of all of the collected reports.

By: LaShonne Outten, The Nassau Guardian

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