My letter today is in response to a letter sent from the Bahamas Festival Committee.
Firstly, I thought your letter did not speak to why we need to have a Carnival in The Bahamas funded by the Bahamian taxpayers.
Secondly, you totally evaded my question on why, if we have these three major under financed festivals already,(RAKE-N-SCRAPE, GOOMBAY SUMMER and JUNKANOO), that are authentically Bahamian, then why are we investing more money on this foreign exercise called Carnival than we are in our three festival budgets combined? If I am incorrect, let me know please.
Now to your point on my Rock group “Stinkin” Wayz” winning the 2012 Global Battle of The Bands Competition here in The Bahamas and going on to represent the Bahamas in London, England. My group, Colyn McDonald, Anthony Flowers & Darrell Hurston, and I placed third in the competition; third place in the world. We did not receive one dime from the Ministry of Tourism or from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. We did not waste the Bahamian taxpayers’ money promoting a foreign culture. We did not receive a nickel from any private sector company. The only company that assisted us was Sky Bahamas so Mr. or Ms. from the Festival Committee, we owed no one but ourselves yet we still represented our country with pride, spending our own hard earn cash, which was worth less than half of the English Pound and pulled out a third place win.
You tried to compare me and my band members travelling and representing The Bahamas aboard to you spending the Bahamian taxpayers’ money on a foreign festival and not on their home grown culture. Why do you and your committee members seem to hate what is truly Bahamian so much? And as usual, you are wrong again, I did not coin the phrase Rock-N-Scrape. We won the band competition in The Bahamas with straight up Rock-N-Roll music and a great stage performance. Check out the tape. There is no Rake-N- Scrape in any of those songs. We had to perform the same songs that won the competition in The Bahamas in London. I was so proud of my fellow band members for their professionalism so please stop trying to mislead the readers because you have no idea what a true artist goes through.
If I were you and this idea of a Carnival came to the fore at our board meeting, I would have objected, but I am not you all I guess. I am a proud Bahamian and I believe in Bahamian culture first. I appreciate all forms of music but I love mine most. I have made my living off of Bahamian culture, not like your committee members who do this thing part time.
I am a 100% musician, artist, entertainer, producer and writer. I don’t have no side job sir/ma’am, I take this serious. How dare you use the Global Battle of The Bands competition to justify fleecing the Bahamian people’s money for a foreign agenda? That is extremely disingenuous of you. We Bahamians may be passive, but we ain’t fool sir/ma’am.
Straight up, I will not support this festival, it’s song competition, or any part of it, in any way as long as it is called a Carnival. I will not take the Bahamian people’s hard earned money in this farce of a festival or song contest just to be like others, and their decadent parading through the streets with rum in their hands. Those of us who have travelled to these destinations have experienced the revelry. I am not a prude and I see nothing wrong with you going to the strip joint if you want to, “that’s ya business” but don’t bring it into my home and ask me to pay for it.
We have so many Homecomings, Regattas and other Bahamian events by different names like Coconut Fest, Snapper Fest, Crab Fest, Pineapple Fest, Bannerman Town Homecoming, Rock Sound Homecoming and so many more throughout our country that could use those funds your committee is wasting on this Bahamas Carnival. Many of our family islands are struggling every single year just to make their events come off, only working on a shoestring budget. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture has been cutting back on sponsorship for these festivals for years now but your committee wants to waste the people’s money on some other nation’s culture. I cry shame on y’all and while your committee members are reading this, they know that I am correct on this matter, but they do not have the guts, to speak truth to power.
Bahamian culture is not Kirkland Bodie. Kirkland Bodie is just a cog in the wheel of Bahamian culture, so is Ronnie Butler, Eddie Minnis, and so many of the other musicians who have stayed true and sacrificed their lives for their country. Our dancers visual artist, poets, wood carvers, straw vendors, Junkanooers and others are just expressers of this thing called Bahamian culture.
Questions: Why are we doing this? Whose idea is this? What proof do you have that this will garner $30 million dollars in revenue? Like you said, and if it doesn’t, who will be held accountable? Why are we not putting more funding into our cultural expressions (Junkanoo, Rake-N-Scrape, Goombay Summer Festival)? What is your precise overall budget and what are the committee members being paid? This should be public knowledge. This is the people’s money ya know. And my final question; why is this not a private sector venture? Why is this being put on the backs of the Bahamian taxpayers?
This discussion is not about me sir/ma’am, this is about our future, our kids, and what we will pass on to them, our self-worth in this world as a peculiar people. In closing, if the populace is satisfied with this, then “I Gee” and I will leave the country to the fools. If they are not pleased with this idiotic idea, then join your voices and pens with mine and make yourself heard Bahamians, here and aboard. Bahamian culture forever!
Kirkland H. Bodie