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VI Festivals racked up whopping $600,000 in overspending for 2015-Report

-The Virgin Islands Festival & Fairs Committee was allocated approximately $360,000 in 2015 & expended $904,576; this Committee is concerning to Permanent Secretary Dr Potter
From left: Minister for Education and Culture Hon Myron V. Walwyn and Chairman of the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee Kishma A. Baronville. It was unearthed in the Standing Finance Committee deliberations that VI Festivals racked up a whopping $600,000 in overspending for 2015. Photo: VINO/File
Left: Local band VIBE; Right: International Artiste Busy Signal: There was controversy and fall-out after the 2015 Festivals after overseas artistes were paid immediately after their performances last year (including upfront deposits to secure their services) while local artists were discriminated against by having to wait until some seven months later to be paid. Photo: VINO/File
Left: Local band VIBE; Right: International Artiste Busy Signal: There was controversy and fall-out after the 2015 Festivals after overseas artistes were paid immediately after their performances last year (including upfront deposits to secure their services) while local artists were discriminated against by having to wait until some seven months later to be paid. Photo: VINO/File
Left: 2016 VG Easter Parade; Right: 2016 Festival Parade in Road Town. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Culture Dr Marcia Potter told Law Makers that the Virgin Islands Festival Committee caused the Ministry much concern. Dr Potter said currently five festivals are held within the territory and the amount allocated each year is never adequate to cover all the celebrations. She added that there is a need for a serious discussion and policy decisions to ensure that the Festival and Fairs Committee does not end up with outstanding bills which can be 'embarrassing for both the Ministry and the territory.' Photo: VINO/File
Left: 2016 VG Easter Parade; Right: 2016 Festival Parade in Road Town. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Culture Dr Marcia Potter told Law Makers that the Virgin Islands Festival Committee caused the Ministry much concern. Dr Potter said currently five festivals are held within the territory and the amount allocated each year is never adequate to cover all the celebrations. She added that there is a need for a serious discussion and policy decisions to ensure that the Festival and Fairs Committee does not end up with outstanding bills which can be 'embarrassing for both the Ministry and the territory.' Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- With the controversy and fall-out after the 2015 Festivals still fresh on the minds of many after overseas artistes were paid immediately after their performances last year (including upfront deposits to secure their services) while local artistes were discriminated against by having to wait until some seven months later to be paid, more information about the cost of festival has been unearthed.

The information came to light during the 2016 House of Assembly’s Standing Finance Committee hearing now a public document.

No money to pay outstanding bills-Baronville

When local artistes had placed private and public pressure on the Minister for Culture Hon Myron V. Walwyn, the second term Territorial At- Large Legislator about payments, he promised to pay them by December last year. However, it turned out to be another broken promise, as they were never paid then. It was just last month, March 2016, that all artistes were paid, notwithstanding some of them experienced challenges while cashing their cheques. As of press time the banking matters have all been successfully resolved, according to a source in the Department of Culture.   

While testifying before the House of Assembly’s Standing Finance Committee (SFC), as they deliberated the 2016 Budget in February of this year, Chairman of the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee Kishma A. Baronville admitted the outstanding amount at the time of her appearance was some $676,000.

In a question from the Opposition Leader Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) as to why the local artistes were not paid, Ms Baronville admitted to the SFC in February 2016 that artists were not paid  “because money had not been made available to date”. This was a contradiction to Hon Walwyn who promised payment in December 2015, but it never happened.

Huge overspending, Festival committee concerns PS

The Leader of the Opposition and Member for the Third District Hon Fraser stated that “the Festival and Fairs Committee was allocated approximately $360,000 and expended $904,576 which is an over spending of approximately $600,000. Hon Fraser further stated that he has a difficulty appropriating $300,000 and someone spending $900,000.”

The Minister for Education and Culture Hon Walwyn told the SFC that the Festival Committee has been working to reduce the number of overseas acts. He further stated that, “if the Committee does not have a lineup that is decent, no one will come out to support. There needs to be reduction, but not diluted to the point where you do not get support.”

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Culture Dr Marcia Potter told the Law Makers that the Virgin Islands Festival Committee caused the Ministry much concern. Dr Potter said currently five festivals are held within the territory and the amount allocated each year is never adequate to cover all the celebrations. She added that there is a need for a serious discussion and policy decisions to ensure that the Festival and Fairs Committee does not end up with outstanding bills which can be “embarrassing for both the Ministry and the territory.”

Minister Walwyn’s broken promises

Minister for Culture Hon Walwyn promised the people of the Virgin Islands in his first term [2011-2015] in office that he will ensure that the Festival spending is kept within Budget after the Virgin Islands Party Administration were never able to achieve this.

In the four years he held the portfolio of festival budgets he has never achieved his promise to the people to keep the festival spending within Budget. In fact, each year from 2012 to 2015, there have been massive overspending on the festival events.

Mr Walwyn has blamed his ruling National Democratic Party Administration for not allocating enough monies to cover the four festivals, three on Tortola and one on Virgin Gorda.

45 Responses to “VI Festivals racked up whopping $600,000 in overspending for 2015-Report”

  • Maxwell (24/04/2016, 11:28) Like (73) Dislike (8) Reply
    Look! It's stupid to have three celebrations on the same island. More like foolish actually. Cut out east end and carrot bay. Problem solved..so what if the people in those districts don't vote for the district reps because of the decision. So be it. Politicians need to stop trying to please people and look out for the country as a whole...
    • Talkin Crap (24/04/2016, 17:03) Like (18) Dislike (2) Reply
      Town only have two good nights so hush ayo . Town need to shorten their days period . They is who have the bulk of money wasting
    • partner (25/04/2016, 08:24) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      It was also stupid to have slavery. So We celebrating.
  • political obsever (24/04/2016, 11:42) Like (39) Dislike (0) Reply
    Here is a news flash! Set a budget and operate within it. A budget is a programmed road map that we should stay on. It is a plan of revenues and expenses. You cannot spend money you do not have. It is irresponsibile. It is the same as writing a check and knowing that there is no money in the account. It is not a good resume for those who want to climb the corporate ladder.
    • ha (24/04/2016, 16:13) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
      A budget requires careful planning and organization. With those involved why is anyone surprised at this? People also use Festival as their personal cash pan so what else can be expected. What in festival can really cost $1 million? Even if we had one in each district that cost is way off!!! Lets see a breakdown in spending and that will tell the tale.
  • Boo (24/04/2016, 11:42) Like (23) Dislike (23) Reply
    So you have a lady from Jamaica coming here to tell us our festival concerns her…why the hell she does not go back to JAMDOWN to say that…but you know what? that's what you all get!!! you all fool fool locals
  • The Reaper (24/04/2016, 11:55) Like (34) Dislike (4) Reply
    Typical Myrun always blaming others for his failures never being a man and saying he takes full responsibility strupps
  • Fern (24/04/2016, 12:21) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Typical Government they always forget the local people, even though they voted for them. WE will remember!!!
  • TALK THAT (24/04/2016, 12:27) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    heard he beg Kemet like a child to return to the Festival Committee
  • Carrot Bay (24/04/2016, 13:42) Like (14) Dislike (12) Reply
    SIMPLE CUT OUT ROAD TOWN AND EAS END LET CARROT BAY RUN THE SHOW FOR REAL OBOY HATERS GONE VIRAL.
  • island man (24/04/2016, 14:48) Like (15) Dislike (4) Reply
    is walwyn suggesting if its an all local line up no one will come? see what and how he thinks of the local people
    • Well.. (25/04/2016, 11:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      It will get supported but not as much...Also remember there are many expats living here, who's ancestors were freed the same year if not month as us. We are one. But it doesn't mean going over the budget
    • Exeperience (25/04/2016, 14:57) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      I don't think his words reflect what he thinks of local performers. I think he is referring to the fact that more often than not patrons don't show up for the local artist as they do the foreign acts. That is simply a fact, so I'm guessing his concern is if I already see turn out is poor for the local acts how do we have solely local acts when the locals won't go out to support them? How do they pay for these acts and other expenses if no one goes out and pays to see the local acts.
  • Investigation needed (24/04/2016, 14:50) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    Impossible. I want to cry. Omg. Where is the governor. Tax payers need answers for their money .
  • Local (24/04/2016, 14:53) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    We need a break down . We demand a break down.
  • Less than 10% 4 local bands (24/04/2016, 14:58) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    People getting away with all kind of nonsense in this place... Make sure the receipts are ligit and accounted for.. This can't continue.
  • simple (24/04/2016, 15:16) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    cut down and shorten festival or else it will be the same scenerio every year.
  • helping hands (24/04/2016, 15:18) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is his 5th year and it's the same thing over and over.
  • my 2 cents (24/04/2016, 15:47) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    I think the associated costs for each village such as electricity,water, stages, restroom facilities are what drive up the budget. It is a reality that local bands will not generate as much money as international artiste. It is a sad reality but a reality nonetheless. Maybe this year they should try something different.

    Option 1
    Returning all activities to town and give each committee the authority to control operations of the festival grounds for 2 nights. Government could also benefit from investing in their own stage and just pay erection, maintenance and dismantling costs. They could also rent it out as necessary.

    Option 2
    Let Road Town maintain their operations for a shortened time frame than last year, then let CB Comittee get their usual timeframe in using RT village and let East End Committee maintain their timeframe like last year.

    Option 3
    Outsource all entertainment to private promoters to bear the cost, but this will upset patrons who will have to now pay for every night.

    All in all, the country cannot continue to operate this way as it is digging an endless pit of debt, hence reducing any assistance or benefits (pension, infrastructure development, operational cash etc) available to the residents of the Territory. We will all feel the wasteful spending one way or another. It is better to wise up now, before it is wayyyy too late.
  • hummm (24/04/2016, 16:06) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
    why kishma got her mouth push up so for?
  • get real VI (24/04/2016, 16:06) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    Tell me when in the last 16 years did we ever operate within a so called budget (any budget)??? We keep fooling ourselves and still bawling at the results. Psychotic if you ask me.
  • Tax Payer (24/04/2016, 16:37) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    It would be better if the money mismanaged on those petty contracts (such as having 4 festival celebrations in one year) were minimised because there are more urgent priorities and people crying out for help while only a few benefit from things like festival.
  • FREE ADVICE (24/04/2016, 17:28) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    One international act per night will be fine..Too much expensive reggae artist...This is not a music fest, this is festival.
  • cay (24/04/2016, 18:23) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mr Myron needs to start off with a new committee
    • @Cay. Disagree (25/04/2016, 06:27) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      Privatise the damn thing.. Let people bid. Negotiate. Give them the budget and money to work with and government stay out of the operations...
  • question?? (24/04/2016, 23:35) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    When people pay taxes to the government. Who does the money belongs to after said taxes are paid?? Jus' askin'.
  • So unfair (25/04/2016, 02:31) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    He built a million dollar wall, now a $600,000 over run on festival god send help on the cost of the classrooms poor we tax payers and imagine we have another 3 year left of this SMH!
  • VG MWA (25/04/2016, 02:50) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    And some one was paid over $35,000 out of that overspending of $600,000 but still there is NO Corruption..give me a break please
  • We Joking. (25/04/2016, 06:10) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    This amount of Money if manage properly can Run all the BVI Festivals plus music festival with very good artists. Thats alot of money that was mismanaged. Misused.. Its Crazy. Someone needs to answer to pay... Time we get serious in this FxxN place with Payers money..
  • For Bid. (25/04/2016, 06:16) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    I've been saying for the past 3 yrs. Put the running of Festivals out for bid. Let people who think they are capable send their proposal in. I honestly think that they are a lot of good and very capable people who are over looked... Try something different, That's what wise people do.. When the same o. Same o. Ain't working.
  • Give me D ting 2 Run. (25/04/2016, 06:32) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Everything needs to start and ends in Town. Do what ever in between. Festival needs to start and End in the Capitol. In town..End with fire works bla bla. And payment of all checks for participants..
  • Ask Brian Penn 4advice.. (25/04/2016, 06:42) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Local bands need to step their game up. I'm not seeing no improvement in the past 3 yrs of local bands. Just name, Brian Penn is my favourite Chairman. I use to go by the market here all Local bands, Brian Penn wanted to hear what they sound like before he make festival schedule. The bands in the 90s were better. Because they get village nights base on their trials at the market. They had to practice and put the time in...We need local bands to improve.. Its time local band take over festival and make it nice like Antigua, St, Kitts and others do..
  • The Reaper (25/04/2016, 07:44) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    @the fake reaper..Find your own identity.. Stop using my name U F@@king bastard..!! Don't let me come in your dreams now when u are Sleep.Try Me!!!Find your own User Name U F@@king Thief!!!!
  • a new idea (25/04/2016, 10:11) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is what I think we should do.
    (1) Thursday 28th July 2016 Gospelfest.
    (2) Friday 29th July 2016 Food Fair, Opening of Road Town Village, Local and International Entertainers.
    (3) Saturday 30th July 2016 Kiddies Fiesta, International Night in the Village, Local and International Entertainers.
    (4) Sunday 31st July 2016 Miss BVI Pagent, Local and International Entertainers, Start of Rise and Shine Tramp.
    (5) Monday 1st August 2016 Rise and Shine Tramp, August Monday Parade, Closing of Road Town Village.
    (6) Tuesday 2nd August 2016 Second Rise and Shine Tramp, Water Sports, Horse Racing, Opening of East End Village.
    (7) Wednesday 3rd August 2016 East End Long Look Rise and Shine Tramp, Parade, Closing of East End Long Look Village.
    (8) Thursday 4th August 2016 Carrot Bay Cultural Day, Opening of carrot Bay Village.
    (9) Friday 5th August 2016 Carrot bay Fisherman Day, Village Night, Local and International Entertainers.
    (10) Saturday 6th August 2016 Carrot Bay Cultural Day Food Fair, Closing of Carrot Bay Village and end of BVI Festival celebrations. Just my thoughts. Ten days with three sets of action packed events.
    • @ a new idea (25/04/2016, 13:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      struppss
    • Deducting costs is key (25/04/2016, 17:19) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      Your schedule is fine and I've suggested similar in the past but fell on deaf ears. They should eliminate that Tuesday Tramp because the reality was it was designed for Jam band (lol). Carrot Bay and Town should use the same village site in town. The fisherman event can still take place in Carrot Bay, and Carrot Bay only needs 2 days not 3. East End parade should cancel this year and replace it with some kind of cultural something in the East End Village starting in the afternoon until the night.
  • KrackerJack (25/04/2016, 10:54) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Publish the accounts in detail then lock them up, those responsible for the expenditure and those responsible for the decision making.
  • Lily Ann (25/04/2016, 16:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Tola full of Thieves ...
  • Madethattrip (26/04/2016, 08:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Carrot Bay is the best of the best. You move it all to town you lose a lot of people. They tried to wind up in town two years ago. Big belly flop.
    Flew in every year from US for festival. Sometimes made town. Never missed Carrot Bay. They try to preserve the old ways of a village celebration.
  • WTF (27/04/2016, 09:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    What was the $600,000 spent on? The entertainment line up was nothing to write home about, Parade suck, local entertainers still not paid. Something smells fishy. Maybe it needs a new Festival Committee, comprised of people who were exposed to other countries Festival/Carnivals, outgoing peoples person, friendly and engaging people. Nough said.


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