The Show Must Go On

In this article we had mentioned that the rentas office stopped  the sound system from leaving Bluefields until SLC paid their taxes. This information is incorrect. The sound system was stopped by the administrator of the Mayor's office not the rentas. The information in the article has been corrected.   

Jan 17, 2002-The Caribbean coast of Nicaragua has been blessed with two wonderful reggae festivals in less than a year. Thanks to (slc, Inc.) in conjunction with World Sound Records of London, England, the fastest growing reggae label in the business. SLC and WSR tethered together to bring to the community some of the best reggae artist there is today. They first presented Ray Mondo and Yvonne Curtis in April 2001, followed by the Legend of reggae music Mr. Owen Gray who gave a stellar performance the night of January 1, 2002. Sad to say with all the effort that these corporations has made, the Caribbean community does not show their support for it. SLC and WSR has unanimously agreed that the show must continue but it will be move to the capital city of Managua where they believe they will have a more receptive audience.

Not only did the people not support the event but also the local government once again showed their inability to facilitate the means to make the events a smooth process. These events bring some type of economy to the city. Everyone profits from them; the restaurants, the hotels, the nightclubs, the Mayor’s office and the city.

Here is how it went:

First let’s start with the Mayor’s office. They granted permission to the organizing team to use the stadium on January 1, for the event. A formal letter was sent from the vice mayor to the baseball committee informing them of this. The organizing team did not see it necessary to request the stadium for December 31 to build the stage since no games were schedule to play.  But all of sudden the baseball commissioner found it necessary to play some games. He had three games scheduled and then added a fourth at the last moment. By adding a fourth game to the schedule there would be no time to build the stage on 12/31/01 since sun set is at 5:00pm.

When the organizing team became aware of this they went back to the Mayor’s office and obtain another letter asking the commissioner for his cooperation by abandoning the field early to give time to build the stage. That request was ignored and in addition there was ordered left by the commissioner not to let them into the stadium until they spoke to him. This was in total disregard to the Mayor’s office. The organizing team had to locate the commissioner at his house where he was cooking dinner and simple pleaded to him to give permission to use the stadium. He finally decided to accompany them to the stadium to go over a few issues. Once there, they walked on the field and he simple said permission is granted. As if to say, “I have the power”

One has to wonder who is running the city of Bluefields? Is it the Mayor’s office or is it the people who work under the Mayor’s office? Any way, part of a problem solved. Next up is the administrator of the Mayor's office. This office collects taxes based on the sales of tickets and drinks. In total disregard to the Mayor’s office the official who runs this office refused to use his stamp to distinguish the courtesy tickets from the ones sold for cash. He told them “if the vice mayor wants to use his stamp, let him go ahead.” So, what to do? They ended up writing the word courtesy on the back of the tickets themselves. This same official gave orders to the plana (barge) not to load the sound system truck hired from Managua until SLC paid their taxes to the office. This was after the fact that both entities made a verbal agreement to meet at 2 o’clock the evening to pay the taxes. One has to ask, what does the sound system has to do with SLC?. They are a totally different company. What this official did was wrong and unprofessional but who do you complaint to? NO ONE!

SLC also invited the vice mayor and his scouts to the event free of charge but they too never showed up. The vice mayor is head of the scouts in Bluefields. 

Then there are the police. The police we all look to for protection. A fee had to be paid to them before the event could go forward. They were asked to protect the spectators during the event and to protect the interest of the organizing team. Similar to last April Bring Back The Culture Festival, there was no assistant from them. They got paid for services not rendered. There must have been at least 100 jumpers who scaled the borders. When they alerted the few police that was there to watch the show they just gave them a cold shoulder. The organizing team ended up being security for the artist, the spectators and the stadium.

The mind of the government in Bluefields is very small. SLC has tried to bring some type of economy into the city but continue to face obstacles from people in high places. They are not thieves and they are not beggars. They are about business. They fed the poor and organized a relief drive for the victims of hurricane Mitch. But how can you do business when you don’t feel welcome in your own hometown. The rentas office treated them like thieves blocking the sound system from leaving until they paid their taxes even after an agreement was made for a time to meet. No wonder no foreign entities want to invest in the city. No wonder unemployment is so high. 

The situation is dark, not even one black man holds a high-ranking position in the city. So, you see, there is no one to run to with your problems. I don’t mean to sound racist but that is exactly the way it seems and feels. The show must continue SLC said but not in Bluefields. They will however continue to do charitable work in the city. 

Bluefields is a wonderful city but the people need to support the people who are trying to fight for their cause. You cannot be beggars all your lives and expect to get everything for free because everything in life has a price and if we don’t tether together then all that our ancestors left us will be wiped away for good then what will you do?    

gal   


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