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Billy McFarland Still Considered ‘Fugitive’ for Fyre Fest Disaster, Says Bahamian Tourism Minister

todayNovember 14, 2022 1

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A tourism minister for the Bahamas is throwing cold water on Billy McFarland‘s comeback plans. In a statement Monday (Nov. 14), Chester Cooper, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister for Tourism, said that the creator of the disastrous Fyre Festival is still considered a “fugitive” in the country and that anyone knowing his whereabouts should contact the Royal Bahamian Police Force. In response, McFarland issued a letter to the Bahamian government later that day apologizing for Fyre Fest and promising, “I will spend the rest of my life working to right my wrongs.”

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The news — first reported by local newspaper The Tribune — comes after McFarland was earlier this year released from prison and later home confinement for crimes he committed while raising money for the 2017 festival. Last month, McFarland released a video on TikTok teasing out a new Bahamas-based project that would be promoted through a treasure hunt set to begin this week on the Caribbean island nation.

“The public is advised that no application has been made to the Government for consideration of any event promoted by Billy McFarland or any entity or parties known to be associated with him,” said Cooper in a statement. “McFarland was the organizer of the Fyre Festival several years ago, a notorious charade for which McFarland was convicted and sent to prison in the USA.
 
“The Government of The Bahamas will not endorse or approve any event in The Bahamas associated with him.
 
“He is considered to be a fugitive, with several pending complaints made against him with the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF).”

McFarland first announced his plans for PYRT on Oct. 24 after serving four years in prison, noting he’s “working on something new” that’s “a little crazier but a whole lot bigger than anything I’ve ever tried before.” In the video announcement, he then flipped a whiteboard to reveal a treasure map taped to the other side and a phone number to call for more information.

In addition to his prison sentence, McFarland was ordered to pay roughly $26 million in restitution for his crimes. In May, his attorney Jason Russo told Billboard that McFarland was focused on finding “the best way to generate income to pay this restitution back and make amends,” adding, “Any new projects that he does become involved in will be done solely for the purpose of generating the restitution for paying back his victims.”

Later Monday, a representative for McFarland provided Billboard with a copy of a letter McFarland says was sent to the Bahamian government in response to Cooper’s statement. In it, he says he has been working to “make amends” with the Bahamian people and pledges to “make these families whole as soon I am allowed.” He goes on to “ask for guidance on whom to speak with to begin my journey to do right by the incredible people of the Bahamas and Family Islands.”

Read it in full here:

Dear Government of The Bahamas,

I am writing to you to profusely apologize for my actions 5 years ago. I was completely wrong and I wholly regret my actions.

I’ve now served my punishment in prison and now that I am out, my main focus is how I can right my wrongs and how I can make the Bahamas and Family Islands, a region I care so deeply about, whole again. 

Over the years, and particularly since my release on August 30, I have been in constant touch with the people throughout the Islands. Their generosity and kind hearts have been a constant guide and motivation for me. I have been re-engaging with the families of the islands to see what I can do to begin making amends. 

I don’t have much right now, but I am committed to make these families whole as soon I am allowed. I ask for guidance on whom to speak with to begin my journey to do right by the incredible people of the Bahamas and Family Islands.

I truly acknowledge the hurt I caused to the people, and region, and I will spend the rest of my life working to right my wrongs. 

Sincerely,
Billy McFarland

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