From the beginning I knew that it would be hard for fifty dollars to overcome nine million dollars, but I said let me give it a try anyway.
I knew that with nine million dollars you could purchase radio, print media, private bloggers and any amount of social media hounds to push your agenda and yes they did, but I kept on trying, just for the sake of protecting and preserving our fragile culture.
So when I saw the live stream of the so-called Carnival event in Grand Bahama, I was happy to see that they emulated the template of the successful “It’s A Bahamian Ting” show that we put on a week prior at Arawak Cay (April 11th, 2015). They had an all Bahamian cast, like we did. They had Rake-N-Scrape, like we did. They had a Junkanoo Rush Out, like we did. They had a super-sized Goombay Summer Festival, like we did.
It was awesome and I said to myself, this is what I was asking for all along, Bahamians and visitors enjoying our Bahamian Culture. What I did not want was a Trinidadian type carnival-styled event and from all indications, the Trini Road Fever thing never happened in Grand Bahama. Again great, that is not Bahamian Culture. So all in all, Grand Bahama held a complete Bahamian Festival and there was no need for the word ‘carnival’ to be added to it. No one came to Grand Bahama looking for a carnival. No one purchased Road Fever Trini costumes.
No one carried on vulgar in the streets. No fights, just like the Arawak Cay show. Bahamian music is peaceful. I was very proud of that; I was glad that they took our advice. I can see us renaming this event to Bahamas Junkanoo Festival or Bahamas Goombay Festival going forward.
In Grand Bahama we are used to crowds of Bahamians showing up at Taino Beach for special occasions, this is nothing new. This was my experience since I was a child, and up to today. Taino Beach is still that spot.
With six months to a year of internet ads, posters, billboards, radio ads, and a million or so dollars injected into the event, actually there should have been more visitors and Bahamians than what was at Taino Beach. Grand Bahama’s Tourism Office does just as well with regards to crowd numbers with a budget of thirty to forty thousand dollars, or so, for the Goombay Summer Festival. When we brought the “Best of the Best” shows to Grand Bahama there was standing room only and those were private functions. Those crowds went insane! It was like the Beatles were in concert, so let’s not get it twisted.
Grand Bahamians are always hungry for sweet Bahamian music, just like the rest of the country. Once it is presented properly, in a safe environment, given enough time and funding, we could have a successful Bahamian concert on every island in this country utilizing every Bahamian artist, musician, dancer etc. and be able to spark their economies also without the word carnival ever being used. Now on the issue of hotels, car rental and no food on the island because of this Carnival event in Grand Bahama, I leave that up to the reporters to make some calls and find out the truth and not allow the spin doctors to dictate to them.
This discussion, at least from my vantage point, was never about making money. It has always been about the Bahamian taxpayers’ monies being spent on Bahamian things, Bahamian people, Bahamian entertainers, and Bahamian Culture but the political operatives are trying to change the topic and mislead us. It amazes me how we would pull down our own and protect the foreigner just because our own would stand up to a government that said they would put Bahamians first. Go to Crab Fest, Cat Island Rake-N-Scrape Festival or any of the many festivals throughout our country; the only thing we need to do is promote these festivals internationally. Give it half of, or just as much as we are giving to this foreign festival and see what happens.
I have noticed that no one is addressing my main point of the Bahamian people’s money being spent only on Bahamian Culture. The Minister of Culture is suppose to defend and protect our culture, where is he on this matter? I am disappointed in him. We need leaders that will look out for us, to protect our heritage. I think we need a thorough forensic audit on how and where our monies were spent and are being spent.
Bahamians who defend foreign over their own, who are willing to pay the foreigner more and not bat an eye when destroying their own countryman for political mileage, should be ashamed of themselves. When a foreign government starts paying for us Bahamians out of their treasury to perform at their national festivals I would jump on board with this head first. Our leaders duck away from the subject of wasting the Bahamian people’s money. We don’t need anyone else’s culture to make a dime off, our culture is just fine. I would like to thank Mrs. Ginger Moxey and her crew for being brave and putting on an all Bahamian event in Grand Bahama with no foreign elements or entertainers. New Providence should take note and follow suit. Carnival is not our culture, and you all are wrong for trying to push it down our throats at our own expense. #BahamianCultureFirst
Kirkland H. Bodie