Cash-strapped North Miami balks at covering Radio Mega carnival

A popular Haitian radio station came before the North Miami council to request a quarter of a million dollars to throw a street carnival in two months.

Representatives from Radio Mega told the council the money would help pay for what they dubbed the North Miami Meganaval, a Haitian-inspired eight-hour street carnival that would boast top konpa bands such as Djakout, Carimi and T-Vice.

The proposed sponsorship from the city: $270,650

Radio Mega asked for the event to take place on Sept. 2. The carnival route would shut down Northeast 125th Street, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, from Griffing Boulevard to Northeast 12 Avenue.

Ultimately the item was put on hold. The group said they would return to the council with their request in August at Mayor Andre Pierre’s recommendation.

Before the group told the council they wanted their request considered at a later date, North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre asked for a five-minute break, which turned into frantic whispered deliberations between representatives of Radio Mega, city staff and supporters of the carnival.

Pierre asked for the break after telling representatives from Radio Mega that the city was broke and did not have any money to cover the hefty price tag. He also questioned the last-minute time frame, though he told them he supported the idea.

“I’m 100 percent behind this,” he said.

Alluding to the pending closing of the Biscayne Landing site, in which North Miami is expected to receive $17.5 million, Pierre said, “It’s no big secret we’re about to get money in. But it’s not in yet.”

Pierre told the group to return in August.

But Alex Saint Surin, general manager of Radio Mega, said he wanted the council to vote Tuesday night on whether it would help out financially. At that point, Pierre requested the break.

During the break, several supporters of the proposed carnival told Saint Surin he should follow Pierre’s advice and revisit the council in August -- in fear that if the council voted Tuesday the proposal would be rejected.

Even City Manager Stephen Johnson chimed in telling Saint Surin, “I recommend you regroup. This is just too quick to make this stuff happen.”

When the council reconvened, the group said they would return at a later date.

Some North Miami residents who spoke at the meeting had reservations about the price tag and the appearance that some members of the council had already made a decision about the carnival before bringing it to the public.

The Meganaval website claims, We are fully supported by the Haitian elected officials, Mayor Andre Pierre, Councilwoman Erlande Steril, Councilman Jean R. Marcellus, Chief Police Marc Ellias, Councilman Frantz Pierre, Commissioner Jean Monestime, and Vice Mayor Philippe Derose."

Frantz Pierre and Philippe Derose are councilmen in neighboring North Miami Beach. Jean Monestime is a Miami-Dade county commissioner.