BAAA withdraws from hosting regional games
Now that the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations(BAAA)executives officially announced that they have withdrawn the country’s name from the hat to host this year’s CARIFTA Track and Field Championships, the fate of the annual regional games were pushed further in limbo.
President Mike Sands brought an end to the rumors that were surfacing around the region that the BAAA had officially decided to host the April 23-25 event, yesterday. Sands said it was with careful consideration and consultation that the BAAA and The Bahamas withdrew. He was unable to confirm if the governing body for track and field in the region, the North American, Central American and Caribbean Association(NACACA)was able to secure another host country., or if the games will be cancelled.
He said: ”We thought it necessary to advise NACACA that the BAAA has withdrawn itself from the hosting of the games, under the circumstances which we find very, very regrettable at this time and also unavoidable. That is our final position. We had to take the position that we will not host CARIFTA under the circumstances because we could not guarantee the government the requirements and therefore we have withdrawn ourselves.
“CARIFTA has been the bedrock of all the stars that came through so we are hoping that this can come through in some other district. CARIFTA will be 40 years old. Communication that has gone on between the president and the member federations is he is diligently seeking other countries at this time to host it.”
Sands revealed that the association had requested several things in writing from NACACA and President Neville’Teddy’McCook. But only verbal notices and agreements have been made, to date.
“We indicated to the president what we felt we needed and gave him a deadline of November 19,” said Sands.”That deadline came and went and we did not receive what we had anticipated or expected from the president. We continued further communications. He came to Nassau on the December 6. We had what we thought was a very fruitful meeting. And in that meeting he left with a promise to report back to us the following day and confirm additional sponsors, again through the NACACA office. December 6 he left nassau, we heard from him on December 25, indicating that he was not successful in negotiating with other partners for the CARIFTA.
“We had discussions with our own local corporate partners trying to secure the necessary funding. We heard again from the president on January 17, i think it was, indicating that he had secured partnership from two corporate partners who had worked with him in the past. However, at no point in time did he indicate the amount that these partners would bring to the table. We had communications with the ministry seeking their support and in principle the minister gave us their support, but obviously subject to the funding being in place. We could not, nor did we expect the ministry or the government to fund the CARIFTA Games.
“In our discussions with the ministry the minister had asked us to please ensure that we were able to itemize the amount of donations that will be coming forth from sponsors. We were unable to do so simply because we did not receive at any point in time the gauteite from NACACA and the sponsors that they say they had on CARIFTA’s behalf. Therefore, after several deadlines were passed and we kept on extending it and extending it, just as late as January 17, we were not in a position to itemize those sponsors because he never told us the amount from those sponsors and it was difficult for me to say that we have a sponsor.”
The Bahamas’name was tossed into the equation after St. Kitts and Nevis as well as Jamaica revealed that they were not able to host the games. Sands said St. Kitts and Nevis withdrew in July of last year at the NACACA meeting in Miramar, Florida. Jamaica, being the home country of the president tried to step in to fill the void, but that too was unsuccessful. Sands and the BAAA as well as several other countries were approached in October about hosting the games. This is when the BAAA made a best effort to secure the fundings. Some 500 thousand dollars is needed to host the games. Sands said he nor any of the executive members are prepared to put the country at a financial strain to host the games.
Sands added: ”We have an obligation to the government of The Bahamas to itemize from those sponsors what their donations would have been and in turn minimize any unnecessary financial risk that will come forth. And so with the time lapse that has gone, our executives took a position that without the funding and without our ability to advise the government very specifically the amounts that were promised, we thought it necessary that we will not host because of the integrity of the games and the reputation of The Bahamas as well as the BAAA.
“We need to be very clear and very careful to make sure that there is no reflection on us the country or the association.”
The CARIFTA Track and Field Championships were set to take place in Grand Bahama.