The much anticipated, long awaited 2013 VI Festival and Fairs Committee (VIFFC) report was finally tabled in the House of Assembly during the 25 September sitting.
In the document Chair of the Committee, Marvin Blyden was very pleased to highlight that there were four major achievements for that year. He noted that the achievements were the timely start of most of the 2013 events, higher public support and crowd turnout, minimization of overspending; and a reduction of cost by the removal of extravagant prizes.
The report for the 2013 calypso show was mainly positive as it was announced that the attendance was great and the Calypso Monarch and Committee developed a positive working relationship.
On the other hand he noted many major challenges including complaints about the Committee’s Treasurer and Secretary, and some other agencies. As it relates to the Department of Culture, the report stated that there was an apparent undefined nature of the role that Department played in relations to festival: “The conclusion was made that the Department of Culture only got involved when they were asked. It should be made clear of the function of the Department regarding festival as the Committee relies heavily on the Department for the success of Festival.”
Mr. Blyden announced that as Festival Chair he strongly believes that the VI Festival and Fairs Committee should be operated year round and manned by personnel of the Department of Culture who will be able to share and receive information pertaining to festival.
As it relates to the Virgin Gorda Festival Committee, Mr. Blyden stated that the VI Festival and Fairs Committee became more hands-on with the Virgin Gorda Festival Committee in 2013. However, he noted that despite the involvement there still seemed to be miscommunications between the executive body and the Sub-committee.
It was reported that the VIFFC received a report from former Virgin Gorda Festival Chair, Mr. [Rupert] Vanterpool, however it was announced that monies showing outstanding compared to monies that were paid out in outstanding debt could not be accurately compared. In fact, the Sub-committee nearly doubled their budget based on outstanding invoices received and paid by the VIFFC.
He said that in addition to that there were several complaints made by members of the Virgin Gorda Festival Committee expressing their dissatisfaction with the management style displayed by the then Sub-committee Chair.
Issues of marketing were also noted and it was remarked that the marketing for the festival leaves much to be desired. In fact the report said: “At this stage of the Festival’s development, marketing needs to be separately funded and no longer dependent on funds from the BVI Tourist Board (BVITB). He said that in 2012, and 2013 VIFFC was promised certain promotional plans by the BVITB, but these were never realized at the level that they were promised.”
Unfortunately 2012’s unresolved issue was carried over to 2013 as the Committee reported that the inherited bill from Nibbs Auto Sales and Parts has not been handled. It was reported that the Permanent Secretary informed that more evidence is needed before a way forward can be determined. However, it was stated that the only evidence the Committee has in its possession is the bill from Auto Sales and Parts and a letter from Hon. Andrew Fahie responding to correspondence from Auto Sales and Parts. It was announced that more information needs to be sourced to move the issue forward.