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Sports ministry draws attention as Pintard promises overhaul

Fred Sturrup is currently in London, England, for the Commonwealth Boxing Council’s (CBC) annual general meeting (AGM), at which time, he is expected to make proposals on behalf of the Bahamas Boxing Commission (BBC), which he currently chairs. During this time, The Nassau Guardian Sports Section will run a few of Sturrup’s Sports Scope columns from the past. His regular columns will return on Wednesday, October 4.

Based on the aggressive approach to a full overhaul taken by the new minister of youth, sports and culture of those elements of the national sports picture related directly to the government of The Bahamas, he has drawn a lot of attention.

There are certain key aspects of the government’s sports make up that Michael Pintard, based on his public comments, intends to initiate adjustments for the better.

The subvention program for elite athletes and the sports grants to federations and quasi-government entities, I’m sure, he will assesses, and do what needs to be done to bring about the best balance and spending practice of the taxpayers’ money.

The National Sports Authority (NSA), however, is another matter altogether. Pretty much, the NSA has been like a runaway train. I understand that there were times of great dissension between those who head the NSA and the former directorate of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the past minister and permanent secretary.

Unless Minister Pintard does a full examination of the NSA, which he is fully authorized to do based on the Act, he will find himself at odds as well. Pintard has hinted at what lies ahead.

In his budget debate presentation in the House of Assembly earlier this week, Minister Pintard spoke to the urgent need to upgrade certain sporting facilities. Concerned about the neglect that has been obvious for a long time, and that he verified upon assuming office, Pintard said the following in the House: “It is our intention to do several things. The first will be to put in place proper leadership to manage the entire process and upgrades. We will establish that we upgrade and maintain, and make sure that we have a clearly defined policy on the use of those facilities.”

I don’t take lightly his reference to “proper leadership” and suggest no one does. He seems quite serious and reflects the thinking of Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis regarding functioning for the betterment of all of the people.

“We are confident that the NSA will function in a manner that is beneficial to the development and upkeep of these facilities (throughout the country), while at the same time making available in a cost-effective way, space for our federations to practice and to function,” added the minister.

He is proving that the government is very serious about this overhauling business. This weekend, the disparity of attention to sporting facilities by private personnel, in comparison to the NSA, is in full evidence in Grand Bahama.

There is the track and field championship event at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex (GBSC) and the baseball national tournament at the Emera Baseball Park. The one, the Emera Baseball Park, is in pristine condition and offers comfort for patrons. The other, the much-neglected GBSC, although there was a quick-fix approach utilized to accommodate the track and field competition, is a prime example of how the NSA failed.

Thus, the minister’s promise of an overhauling is most encouraging.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.

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