Members of the Virgin Gorda Festival Committee (VGFC) were “forced to use personal funds to secure performers” for last year’s festivities because of late funding from the government.
This is according to the recently-released 2019 report from the Virgin Islands Festival Committee.
The report indicated late funding as one of the challenges the committee experienced while staging the celebrations.
“The members of the VGFC worked tirelessly to provide the best they could, given the numerous and direct obstacles and challenges such as the following: No bank on Virgin Gorda, a consistently malfunctioning and unreliable bank machine, a change in administration in the BVI government, late funding provided by the BVI government, little support from the BVI business community (approximated to be less than 25% of local businesses contributing financially or operationally),” the reported stated.
Activities went well
Despite the numerous challenges, the Committee said the overall turnout and feedback of the festivities was positive.
“The remarks that followed in the days and weeks afterwards were a testament to the appreciation of all of the hard work and ingenuity required to make Festival 2019 happen. Although the local business support could have been more, those that engaged in the festival with either monetary donations or operational support, gave generously and wholeheartedly with the best intentions of supporting a successful event,” the report said.
The report further said residents were ‘eager’ to participate following the scaled-back version of the festival in 2018.
Festival was in debt
Last year, the new government indicated that the festival was heavily in debt.
“Before we had even started before we had even spent one red cent, we are already in the hole by around approximately $300,000, and that’s based on unbudgeted expenses from the previous administration,” Culture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley said at the time.
“Scale-backs will happen because we have a limited amount of money, and we cannot repeat the current situation where we have hundreds of thousands of dollars of unbudgeted expenditure moving forward.”
The overall spend for 2019 festivals came at an approximate cost of $1.6 million, which is lower than the approximate $2.02 million, $1.84 million, and $1.75 million festival expenditure in the years 2014, 2015, and 2016, respectively.
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