Colebrooke gives sports perspective-Part I
Kevin Colebrooke is the Chief Sports Recreation Officer at the Ministry of Sports. His responsibilities include administration of the Betty Kelly Kenning Swim Complex, Sports Tourism and the disciplines of rugby, golf, bowling and billiards.
For 10 months until Monday of last week, his portfolio included another very important duty. He was the Acting Director of Sports, filling in a very significant void upon the retirement of Martin Lundy. Tim Munnings of 1600 meters(m)relay fame is now the new official Director of Sports. Colebrooke expresses no disappointment in not being confirmed in the post.
“I’m not disappointed at all. Tim has a new vision. My role will be to support him and help guide him to ensure that he is able to do a proper job,”said Colebrooke quite candidly during the interview for this exclusive perspective.
The time in the post gained him a lot of experience and according to Colebrooke allowed him the opportunity to see first hand the full plate the director has to deal with constantly. There were challenges.
“Firstly, it was a struggle to try and satisfy all of the sporting organizations, the civic groups and the appointed commissions and committees. Then, there was the administration of the endowment fund(grants and other financial assistance), plus the subvention program.
“It was a tall order, but we tried to help as much as we could. We provided technical assistance as well. I will tell you…the job of the Sports Director is an awesome one. I got to understand the wider spectrum as to what happens with that post. Let me tell you though…I felt good whenever I knew help had been given to those who asked for it,”said Colebrooke.
The national budget cutback virtually across the board by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham resulted in the downsizing of many of the sporting programs. Still, there are annual necessities which must be funded. Colebrooke is of the view that aggressive fund-raising projects should be the order of the day for the sporting organizations.
“I would like to see the federations try more to help themselves with fund-raising ventures,”he said.
In truth, the method of operation today by federations is a departure from the way the sports leaders of the past functioned. There was a time when there were no government grants included in the national budget. Sporting organizations made it only on the strength of financial sponsors.
Financial self-help projects were structured into the various sporting programs. There is in fact nowadays a great dependency on the Ministry of Sports to provide all of the financial needs of the organizations. Colebrooke would like to see a change of this attitude. I support him.
The government through the Ministry of Sports plays a major role in the continued subsistence of the national sporting program even without having any control over the various bodies. The self-help perspective of Colebrooke should be adhered to.
(End of part one in this series. To respond to this column kindly contact [email protected])