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Still gearing up for festival

Trevor Thorpe

Still gearing up for festival

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Local tourism officials are pressing ahead with plans for the Top Gear Festival despite the controversy in the British media, and now in Barbados, over the alleged use of the racial ‘N’ word by Top Gear’s main presenter, Jeremy Clarkson.
  The British press has said that plans for Clarkson to fly to Barbados for the Top Gear Festival on May 17 and 18 have been mired in controversy after some fans threatened to boycott the event, which will also see 2008 Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton drive at Bushy Park.
  Clarkson has apologised after he appeared to be caught on camera mumbling something that sounded like the ‘N’ word while mouthing a rhyme under his breath, but it is understood that his employers, the BBC, have said after this latest controversy that if this happens again he will be fired.
  Tourism officials say they are in dialogue with the Top Gear producers and describe the discussions as fluid in their attempts to resolve any issues.
   Bushy Park Circuit Inc. (BPCI) operations director Mark Hamilton said that they were aware of the development and were also confident that the BBC was dealing with the matter in a professional manner.  
  “BPCI are confident that the Top Gear Festival will bring significant benefits to Barbados in the coming weeks and beyond and our focus is to deliver a world class entertainment package through our partnership with Top Gear and the Barbados Tourism Authority,” Hamilton said.
   From a career as a journalist in Northern England, Clarkson rose to prominence as a presenter of the original format of Top Gear in 1988 and since the mid-1990s, he has become a recognised public personality, regularly appearing on British television presenting his own shows and appearing as a guest on other shows.  
   Apart from motoring, Clarkson has produced programmes and books on subjects such as history and engineering and from 1998 to 2000, also hosted his own chat show called Clarkson.