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Approx. $1.8M spent on 2023 Festival events– VIF&FC Vice Chairman

- Mr. Birchfield B. Lettsome says committee also raised $1.07M
While the final figure is still to be determined for the 2023 year, as a proper debriefing has to be made the Commission’s executive body, Mr Birch Lettsome said the $1.8M preliminary spend comes as the VIF&FC raised $1.07M and received $1M from the Government. Photo: GIS/Facebook
The figure was revealed at a press conference this morning August 24, 2023, alongside Premier and Minister and Finance, Dr the Hon Natlaio D. Wheatley, and VIF&FC Chairman Mr Dirk L. Walters. Photo: GIS/Facebook
The figure was revealed at a press conference this morning August 24, 2023, alongside Premier and Minister and Finance, Dr the Hon Natlaio D. Wheatley, and VIF&FC Chairman Mr Dirk L. Walters. Photo: GIS/Facebook
One of the stage shows of Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival 2023. Photo: Virgin Islands Festival/Facebook
One of the stage shows of Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival 2023. Photo: Virgin Islands Festival/Facebook
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI– Some $1.8M has been spent on Festival activities for 2023, according to preliminary figures. This information has been disclosed by the Vice Chairman of the VI Festival and Fairs Committee (VIF&FC), Mr Birchfield B. Lettsome.

The initial figure was revealed at a press conference that also included Premier and Minister and Finance, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), and VIF&FC Chairman Mr Dirk L. Walters this morning August 24, 2023.

While the final financial figures are still to be determined for the 2023 year, as a proper debriefing has to be made to the Committee’s executive body, Mr Lettsome said the $1.8M preliminary expenditure comes as the VIF&FC raised $1.07M and received $1M from the Government.

Mr Lettsome added that monies were also raised from sponsorships and other means such as rental spots, and ticket sales. He also detailed that for every $1 spent internationally, $3.50 was spent locally, with some of the money from the international spending also remaining in the VI. 

According to Chairman Mr Walters, “Initially, we mentioned these are preliminary figures. Of course, we still have small invoices here and there that are trickling in." 

Final cost still to be determined 

He added, “So you have some situations where there's a little bit of back and forth and subcommittees also have to submit these various things, so we have a couple of challenges here and there,” he added.

Meanwhile, Premier Wheatley said while more information regarding accountability in the Festival will be disclosed to the public, the overall financial aspect of the Emancipation Festival was well managed.

36 Responses to “Approx. $1.8M spent on 2023 Festival events– VIF&FC Vice Chairman”

  • Lb (24/08/2023, 14:05) Like (37) Dislike (5) Reply
    Our Emancipation Festival should never have to focus on how much money was made it how much went to international artists. If our Festival is done right then the focus is on our culture and our entertainers. We turn this into a big commercial mess and forgot the reason for the season.
    • Zan was missing. (24/08/2023, 15:49) Like (7) Dislike (4) Reply
      The media Pitt bull was obviously missing..I am wondering if he was not invited, or is he on Island and is he still with ZBVI...Because all we got are friendly questions like the media looking for friends..
    • @Lb (25/08/2023, 15:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      The costumes must have cost (2 pennies) for how much cloth they bought this year.
  • Really (24/08/2023, 14:06) Like (6) Dislike (13) Reply
    How much is being spent on 15 minutes community in sea cow's bay? Is the Joe's hill apartments the 15 minutes community for town? I want to know because I see the dark times World wide so just can't the crap and tell us the ELITES script. Tell the people about the digital mark of the beast system from the vaccine. It's time the people wake up because the beast system is in full effect. Do you see all those fires world wide? All started by the government to put these people in 15 minutes smart cities. People do your homework. Stop living blind.
  • Easy (24/08/2023, 14:11) Like (26) Dislike (3) Reply
    That’s close to 2mil. That’s too much and value might have been lost somewhere.
  • The Reaper (24/08/2023, 14:14) Like (28) Dislike (1) Reply
    They need to step down. Dirk flex, Donovan and the rest
  • WEW (24/08/2023, 14:15) Like (36) Dislike (3) Reply
    The question is who lined their pockets and walked away smiling
  • Rubber Duck (24/08/2023, 14:20) Like (17) Dislike (5) Reply
    What a waste of money. The festival was a poor as it always is - I am not to leave the Territory for it next year.
    • to Rubber Duck (24/08/2023, 15:01) Like (9) Dislike (21) Reply
      It was not a waste of money as it helped the economy in a major way. Many businesses and industry did well as a result and many jobs were secured. The taxi industry, ferry, airplanes, hotels, guess homes, food vans, stores, supermarkets, t-shirt businesses, posters, and much more all did well as a result of festival. It is a major boost to the economy and should not be looked at as a wasted expenditure.
      • Jane (24/08/2023, 16:27) Like (18) Dislike (2) Reply
        Can we just give each BVIslander (child & adult) $120 each next year and let them mark the occasion of Festival in whatever way they want? I am telling you MORE of the money would remain in the community.
      • Josiahsbay (25/08/2023, 09:04) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        To Rubber Duck: You are 100% correct the people are evaluating one side of the equation. It's the government's job to give the public a sense of the infusion of money into the economy these types of events have.
    • @rubber duck (24/08/2023, 15:44) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
      When do you Euros come to festival events apart from the parade??
  • Wow! (24/08/2023, 14:38) Like (24) Dislike (2) Reply
  • People (24/08/2023, 14:55) Like (2) Dislike (18) Reply
    Do some research and you will see this amount is the yearly amount for Festival for the past 30yrs. At times it was much more. We need to just face the fact that this is the cost of festival and move on.
  • My Take (24/08/2023, 15:06) Like (4) Dislike (16) Reply
    You cannot please some of you in BVI and those UK bloggers. The committee needs to give the BVI public the cost of festival for the last 20 years in the BVI and then all will see this year's costs was reasonable and within the annual cost of festival.
    • @my take (24/08/2023, 15:41) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      The economy is not as robust as last years therefore, we needed to scale back.
  • Yep (24/08/2023, 15:19) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    Please provide a breakdown of revenue and costs.
  • vex (24/08/2023, 15:38) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Meanwhile, water and sewerage employees use their own vehicles to do government work. mercy
  • Weak Media.. (24/08/2023, 15:44) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
    The one question most of us was waiting for, the useless media didn't drop it.. 1/ " Why were there not more free nights? ..2/ Since there was a surplus is reason and or evidence that tax payers should have given an additional 2 free nights.? ..Zan was missing. Anyone knows why..?
  • Bring the pain (24/08/2023, 15:48) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    Electricity bill more high every year around this time
  • How! (24/08/2023, 15:56) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    And still $40 to get in village. Nobody ever ask the right questions until ppl get indicted. It’s giving Dameon Perceval lol.
  • waste (24/08/2023, 16:15) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    Could have been better used to fix the poor infrastructure.
  • Ho (24/08/2023, 16:36) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    Fix the dump
  • rattie (24/08/2023, 16:43) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Well done, festival committee ! This ought to fix the committee debt...not a clue !! Losers ....all of us !
  • ?? (24/08/2023, 16:46) Like (27) Dislike (1) Reply
    Watched the press conference were the Premier spoke about the whale... what does a big fish have to do with our 'Emancipation' Festival? Were the slave ships connected to a whale?????
  • Black Lives Matter (24/08/2023, 16:51) Like (5) Dislike (12) Reply
    It’s a sad day that we are not independent. We can manage our own affairs
  • Well (24/08/2023, 17:18) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    You all did well to raise 1.07 M but I going to say this 1.8 M plus is way out of the ball park. We needed to spend some of that money in the deplorable infrastructure we deserve better and better we must get. Is this the kind of emancipation celebration our ancestors, young people and the tourist deserve. Our emancipation gone to the dogs. Please start to take a deeper look into the 70th from now learn from the mistakes and embrace the positive. If you realize there needs to be a separate day for them who want to emancipate them self with vulgarity find a separate day for it. Give the children them their own space for their display and adults a separate day to bring back the real culture of festivals.
    Yes times has gone long passed the 60's but this is where we started. Focus on the real issues before us.
  • father (24/08/2023, 18:46) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Keystone don't know what the tail he say. Can't understand him one bit
  • Unbelievable (24/08/2023, 19:36) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Considering everything this country needs help with, spending this large sum of money like this is pretty shocking. I’m sorry to read this, the people and the land and more need help. One can hope the Govt will focus on what really matters in the future.
    • smh (25/08/2023, 08:28) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
      @unbelievable did you realize that now or after you sober up? Sure you was the one out every night jumping up if so you are the problem and stop complaining. If you attend the 250k concert on June 30th you are the problem. No one who went to the concert or the village in 2023 should be complaining you’ll part of the flipping problem
  • 90210 (25/08/2023, 01:35) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    1.8m spent, Let’s hear the figures on what was made. Then we can do some Math and see if it was an economical decision to spend that much money. The mission is to celebrate emancipation which don’t have to be that expensive especially while it has a bunch of other pressing issues in the territory that needs addressing.
  • Hmm (25/08/2023, 08:43) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Meanwhile some are still vex over $9m spent on COVID stimulus. When they are regularly wasting money left right & centre in times of peace & prosperity.... The unknown & deadly qualities of COVID-19 was a valid reason to panic & reinforce the economy especially during our ZERO covid 24/7 MONTHS LONG lockdown phases.
  • reality (25/08/2023, 09:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The amount spent this year for festival is more than reasonable considering it covered all events at each part of the islands and more. If the cost of festival over the last 20 years in BVI is posted for the public to see, then all will see it is around the same amount and at times it was even higher. All countries experience the same thing so what is the big deal some of you are all of a sudden making. People need to speak from facts rather than out of misplaced anger and hatred.
  • @reality (25/08/2023, 11:16) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Not because everywhere and every one is doing something means it is right. Many countries have backing so they can be elaborate with their spending but we are limited and we must use what we have with wisdom less we find our selves in the red and can't bounce back. The world would be be laughing after us and that is a fact.

    I'm warning this government to do better use wisdom in your spending because the same public who employed you will fire you in as simple as it looks dont take them for granted. Simple show up at the house of assembly with a no confidence placard in their hands will send you home to feel how many are feeling in this territory. Find common ground to take this territory forward and it must start today not next month. Four months is enough time to put your foot down and get running for you to collect your gold medal at the end of this tenure. Wake up wake up wake up you all are still sleeping get with your permanent secretaries and push this territory forward with haste bit not heavy handedness.

    Some will like some would not but we must move forward now.
  • Cant Please BVI People (25/08/2023, 12:51) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    If they had spent 1 mil it still would've been too much. if they spent 500k it still would've been too much.. then yall would've complained about what crappy artists they bring and how poor the festival was... mannn you really cant please us BVI people at all. you talk about how good St.thomas festival is or st. kitts etc do you think they spend less than 2 mill or 1 mill? I definitely think we need to invest in our entertainment industry, runway, ROADS, Steady bush cutting year round, put a law in place for houses and businesses visibly on the main road to have to be well maintained (Paint, Gardening ETC) its a harsh law but it is for the greater good of our BVI. we NEED to push our tourism product more! one thing tourists like to see including US when we travel is a clean, well groomed environment and decent infrastructure I know we're in the islands but if we only know the Gold mind we have here. I know us locals don't want the Government to sell out the country but we need to welcome and invite millionaires and billionaires to the BVI because they will help develop our little islands and help boost the tourism product. maybe not sell the land but lease the land for approximately 50years which can then revert to the Government. we need to push our tourism product more... our financial sector and most importantly we need to invest in agriculture and meat heavily. reduce the importation.

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