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Bahamian businesses also out of pocket following collapse of Fyre Festival

By | Published on Wednesday 24 May 2017

Fyre Festival

As the lawsuits continue to pile up against the disastrous Fyre Festival that never happened, The Tribune newspaper in the Bahamas has interviewed a number of local suppliers hired by the luxury event – due to take place in the island of Great Exuma – who have been left out of pocket by the whole debacle.

Angry ticketholders and US-based suppliers are amongst those who have gone legal against the company behind the Fyre Festival, and its co-founders Ja Rule and Billy McFarland.

In the wake of the multi-million dollars being claimed in each of those lawsuits, the figures owed to various businesses in the Bahamas who worked on the event may seem modest, though as The Tribune notes, unpaid bills of six figures “are extremely significant in an island economy of Exuma’s size, particularly for Bahamian-owned small and medium-sized businesses, as this could prove the difference between their survival and closure”.

Among those out of pocket are Maryann Rolle, owner of the Exuma Point Restaurant & Bar, who tells the paper she is owed $134,000 for catering services. She says: “They used me to the fullest. I was [providing] up to 1000 meals a day, 500 in the morning and 500 in the evening. They were very demanding. The event fell through but I never heard a word from them. They could have at least called and said something. They went away and never even looked back. We allowed crooks into this country. I only hope to God that this whole thing gets sorted out because people need their money”.

The boss of a local construction firm, Brian Lloyd, is also owed over $100,000. “I had about 130 people working with me, doing all sorts of things like installing carpet, beds and tents, sometimes working from 8am until 4am the next morning”, he said. “The first few days, when we started, we got paid for about three days. After that we worked two more weeks and didn’t get paid. We were supposed to get paid that Friday, but everything got shut down and we were left cleaning up afterwards”.

Given the impact on local businesses, the President of the Exuma Chamber Of Commerce, Pedro Rolle, has called for a government investigation into the collapse of the festival. “I think it needs investigating”, he told The Tribune. “There are some untold stories with regard to this. We just know something wasn’t right, and we believe influence was somehow brought to bear on the Ministry Of Tourism. Why were they going ahead given that there were so many unanswered questions? They did it for no reason at all. It doesn’t make sense”.