Ag Show returns to Parks Department control
The annual Agricultural Exhibition has become the full responsibility of the Government, The Royal Gazette can confirm.
Antwan Albuoy, a member of the AG Show Ltd committee, said the decision was made after the Department of Parks asked to be more involved with this year’s show.
He explained that the merger would lead to responsibilities being made redundant and that the committee eventually agreed to step down and give full responsibility to the parks department.
Mr Albuoy said: “We, AG Show Ltd committee, have no doubt the Department of Parks will be able to continue the success we achieved since 2016.
“After all, The Department of Parks were the managers of the Annual Exhibition, since the inception up until 2016.”
He added: “I can’t speak for all of the committee members but I do believe each and every one of use enjoyed managing the Ag Show.
“There were some hair-pulling moments, which is to be expected with the planning and managing of such a large scale event.
“However, it always came together, which led to a successful three-day show.
“It was a rewarding experience for each of the committee members when we saw the enthusiasm of the schoolchildren dropping off their exhibits and the expressions of joy on their faces when they saw they won a prize.
“At the end of each Ag Show, we would typically receive ‘thank you’ e-mails from teachers and charities.”
Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, thanked the AG Show Ltd for their hard work to keep the event going in recent years.
“While ideally, we would have preferred more time to take over responsibility for the iconic event, we nevertheless understand AG Show Limited’s rationale for deciding not to host it this year,” Colonel Burch said.
“I want to thank them for their service to Bermuda.”
He added that the Department of Parks intended to gradually bring back the show and were not planning a “full-scale event” this year.
“This year, from April 27 to April 29, the public can expect the show to be at 75 to 80 per cent of the level of a typical full-scale Ag Show, which we plan to put on next year,” Colonel Burch said.
A spokesman for the ministry added that a budget of $100,000 had been set aside to put on the event.
The AG Show committee was formed by private citizens in 2015 after the Government, then led by the One Bermuda Alliance, said they would not be able to put on the exhibition.
Jeff Sousa, another AG Show committee member, then an OBA parliamentarian, said it was “difficult” to hear this and instead put a call to action online for the public to organise their own Ag Show.
He added that the response was “immense” and that people eventually met at the Botanical Gardens to organise what would become the first AG Show committee meeting.
Mr Sousa praised the volunteers for their passion and hard work, explaining that their commitment to the Ag Show was what made everything possible.
He also thanked the corporate sponsors, who came on the following year, for their patronage, as well as the Government for their help in the private-public relationship.
Mr Sousa said: “This was not a moneymaking proposition from anybody – this was because of the love of Bermuda and the love of the Ag Show.
“We were a registered charity and everything we did went towards running the show.”
He added: “There’s no other event that bring out there total populace like the Ag Show – people love it.
“There’s nothing better than going to the chicken coop and getting my chourico burger at the end of the day.”