Investigation in bribery of Junkanoo judges ongoing
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence (JCNP) President Silbert Ferguson yesterday said he has consulted with his attorney Wayne Munroe, QC, and plans to take legal action over allegations contained in several voice recordings that have become the centre of a police investigation.
“I am moving forward legally with that,” he told Eyewitness News Online.
“I have already done it.
“Nobody is going to call my name like that, and we know who delivered the information to the public.”
He continued, “They are getting ready to move with a civil case very shortly.”
Ferguson said those voice notes defamed him.
The allegations stemmed from voice recordings, in which a woman purporting to be a judge in the 2018 Boxing Day Junkanoo parade, claimed she and another judge were paid as much as $4,000 each to influence their scoring, including marking down a particular costume.
She was speaking to a man in the recording, who was later identified as George “Bommer” Armbrister, who was associated with a Junkanoo group and had designed the costume, which was allegedly scored down.
The purported judge also solicited money from Armbrister in exchange for reducing the scores of rival groups in the New Year’s Day Junkanoo parade.
She also claimed that Ferguson instructed the judges to accept bribes.
In response to the recordings, the JNCP launched an internal probe and requested the assistance of the police to investigate the matter.
However, as of January, the committee said following interviews with numerous judges it had yet to uncover any evidence of tampering, though it had not identified the purported judge who made the claims.
Yesterday, Ferguson said, “You have people out there believing I told these judges to do something, and so I am not taking that lightly.”
Asked about the status of the investigation, Ferguson said while there was an ongoing dialogue between the committee and the police, the JCNP has to await the police to advise it.
However, Ferguson said the secretary of the JCNP was expected to submit additional information gathered by the review committee to authorities yesterday.
“I heard from them today, and they were calling to get another piece of information that we had, and we told them we will [get] that to them, and that’s what they are doing,” he said.
A committee comprised of Junkanoo leaders is expected to deliver recommendations by the end of this month on what the penalties should be for anyone found involved in bribery in Junkanoo.
He said the committee, once it adopts those recommendations, will seek the advice of the Office of the Attorney General.