Presidents make a wish, pt. 2
Topping the 2012 wish list of many of the athletic federations in the country is the continued growth and development of Bahamian athletes. The various presidents are looking forward to the upcoming sporting year and hoping to surpass the achievements made in 2011.
In this second part of the presidents’ wish lists, Guardian Sports reveals some of the goals that they hope to accomplish.
Bahamas Baseball Federation
Government grant: $50,000
President: Craig Kemp
Topping the list for our federation is building a first class website where we will have all of the details of our kids who are away in high schools and colleges available for anyone. Having the statistics of each of those athletes up is very important and our biggest priority. We also want to begin to compile all the necessary documents to put together a baseball Hall of Fame. The start of three small tournaments in three of the Family Islands is another item on our agenda.
The federation has a design in place for a baseball complex. We are already in dialogue and will start to solicit some funds for that venture very soon. You will see that we will continue to push our athletes, giving them that exposure they will need in order to get a scholarship from a college or university in the United States. We also want to put our players in a position where they can attend high schools abroad.
The annual tournament will be held; nothing has changed but there are some major tournaments that we want to focus on. There is one particular tournament in Japan that we want to send our senior players to. We also have two other tournaments that we are looking at but we will have to wait on dates for those. One of those tournaments that we are looking at is a little league tournament and the other pony league. We are still waiting on the Babe Ruth to find out the particulars there.
You will see and hear a lot more of what is going on in baseball. We are still waiting on the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) and whatever their decision is, it will certainly have a major impact on what we do going forward.
Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF)
Government grant: $50,000
President: Charles Robins
My whole campaign was on getting in touch with the Family Islands and making sure that all of them are on board. We are in the process of doing that and are now getting some feedback from the Family Islands. They are telling me that most of them are planning to start their series in January, so that is good news and a step into the right direction.
One of the other things we have planned is to take the time out and visit all of the islands. This way we will let them know that the BBF is behind them 110 percent. If we don’t make that first step in getting all of the islands on board then we will never get basketball the way it used to be. At the end of the day, we will be losing and that dream of mine will fall apart.
There is a plan to actually see and start National High School Championships, even if we just try it once. We will work it out where the Hugh Campbell will not be knocked out of the picture. We want the Hugh Campbell to be a part of it and be used as one of the qualifying rounds for this national. So we look forward to sitting down with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to organize this championships for boys and girls.
As far as the national programs are concerned, there is a plan to make sure that every player who is away playing pro ball is involved. We will have to touch bases with every one of these players and see what it will take to bring them home and represent their country. Our female program, first and foremost, we have to get back to basics with that one. In our conclave a big discussion will be carried out on how we can do that.
But we realize that all of our programs need help, however, it is kind of hard because of our financial problems. Once we get that behind us, we will be able to get the ball rolling.
National Sailing Association
Government grant: $10,000
Commodore: James Wallace
From my organization’s perspective, we would certainly like to see more support from the ministry’s administration. We found over the past year that the minister [of sports] supported us, but his manager didn’t show us much support. We were very disappointed with that and the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. We felt as though she was not as accommodating as she should have been. We found that sailing has been kind of set aside. We realize that the budget has had some big issues, but sailing drives the local economy in the Family Islands. These sailing events are big events for them and it generates income, so a lot of people look towards that. So we want the Government of The Bahamas to reconsider the Regatta Corporation, which we have been pressing on to try and make happen.
Next year, maybe sailors in general will receive the compensation, as limited as it is, for when they attend regattas. I don’t want them having to wait months before they receive what was promised to them in terms of stipends and compensations. I will definitely like to see a better relationship from the permanent secretary area in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture because it was not forthcoming. It was a big disappointment to us. It is never enough from a financial [point of view], so I think that one has to be mindful of the environment that they are working in. In terms of whether or not the government can do more, yes I would like to see them take next year as an opportunity for them to do more. I will also like to see a home for sailors. We’ve been promised a home for so long now and nothing has happened. I don’t think it is fair for sailors to not have a place to store their boats. A lot of time and effort is placed in building these vessels and then they have to lug them around every time when there is a regatta. A permanent home is what we need.
Bahamas Powerlifting Federation
Government grant: $15,000
President: Rex Burnside
Powerlifting is not like the more glamorous sports, and it has been very difficult for us, probably from its inception, which dates back to 1981. But somehow, we have been very fortunate to keep the sport going for these last 30 years. I would say that the Ingraham Administration has done well when they implemented these grants to assist the sporting organizations. A lot of sports like powerlifting, had difficulty in getting funds simply because they are not the eye catching sports like track and field, basketball and the others.
But looking forward to 2012, I don’t know if I am going to be the president because I have decided to step down. So what we are working out now is bringing some people in before elections. The elections should be before February 12. I hope the federation will see improvements in the coming year. I think bringing in the new blood will help. They will be coming with a new brand so that will help as they try to take the federation to another level. The sport needs to grow. In the coming year, we really need to talk with the Ministry of Education and see if we can get the sport into the schools. That will be a task but we are willing to work with them.