National Sports Authority still struggles to maximize capacity
The National Sports Authority (NSA) has been empowered by legislation to control a large portion of The Bahamas’ sports brand.
Under the NSA’s jurisdiction is the multi-purpose Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre (QESC), one of the most comprehensive entities of its kind, not just in the Caribbean, but throughout Latin America and indeed the west sector of the world.
Plans have been on the drawing board for years that would, without a doubt, actually catapult The Bahamas to the top spot in the Western Hemisphere, with the finest sports complex. As it is though, even if those plans are not addressed for years to come, the NSA is still fortified with excellent amenities.
There is of course, the 15,000-seat Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. This facility has enormous potential. The national stadium structure is often underestimated. Generally, people think only of the high quality facility that has been utilized for International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) prime events; collegiate football stellar activities; and professional football interaction via the Miami Dolphins outreach representatives.
The national stadium has the capacity to accommodate much, much more. Many taxpayers in this country don’t really know what their mega investment at the QESC is all about. The stadium is ideal for great concerts, secular or gospel music versions. There are a mezzanine, an amphitheatre, ample spacing, plush lounges, elegant meeting rooms and additional areas that could be used for dressing rooms.
Let it be known that entrusted to the NSA is a truly grand sports/social product. Still, the NSA struggles to take full advantage of all of the features afforded to it by successive central administrations. Clearly, the NSA has underachieved. There is no strong marketing program in place. Why is it that foreign universities/colleges are not banging down the door of the NSA for training and conditioning of their athletes in a comfortable climate?
Directly under the purview of the NSA are also the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Aquatics Centre, the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium and the old Thomas A. Robinson track and field facility.
It is puzzling why the NSA has not been able to get into the market of universities visiting for the purposes of affording their athletes the ideal environment, perfect conditions to prepare for upcoming competitive seasons.
This is an amazing situation, considering that a template had been developed and utilized. Kevin Colebrooke, a senior sports officer with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, once coordinated annual visits of different swim teams from universities. They came in to train at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Aquatics Centre.
Sadly, despite having so much at its disposal, the NSA is still heavily subsidized financially by the Government of The Bahamas. The taxpayers pay handsomely for the NSA to function, with minimal returns, comparatively.
Recently, an administrative change was made at the NSA. There is an acting general manager, in the person of Lester Cox.
Hopefully, he will be able to orchestrate a turnaround for the NSA. Perhaps, for as long as he is in the present position, or if the government sees fit to give him substantive status, Cox will be able to develop and carry out a strategic plan that enables the NSA to move out of the subsidy mold and generate the kind of revenue surplus expected.
- To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at [email protected] or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363).