Tuesday, Mar 19, 2019
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Tennis association challenged to address ‘funding’ dilemma

The Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA), the parent body for the sport in the country, has a funding dilemma.

A recent communication sent to parents of children deemed qualified to compete internationally, indicated as much. The BLTA is asking that $500 be covered for each player, representing registration fee and the cost of a coach; plus all traveling expenses for the junior Caribbean event later this month.

This is outrageous.

Parents should not be expected to be responsible for the costs that ensure their children compete, carrying the Bahamian banner. It’s ridiculous!

It is certainly understandable that the environment in the country during these difficult economic times is not favorable, regarding sponsorships. Therefore those who offer themselves for executive positions ought to have come to grips that a major agenda item, once elected is to generate funding for further development of the respective sport as well as for travel to national, regional and international events.

One could sympathize with the executives of the BLTA. However, they opted to run for office in a financially struggling organization. It was the call they made collectively. Accordingly, they must now accept what comes along with the job, in particular the funding crisis. Following is the letter provided by a parent:

“Your child is eligible to serve on this year’s JITIC (Junior International Tennis Championships) 16U/14U (16-and-under/14-and-under) team. It is the consensus of the board that due to the association operating at a deficit, it would not be able to give financial assistance toward travelling expenses on this year’s JITIC 16U/14U teams. The same decision was made last year by the previous board. It was decided that if parents are willing to pay the travelling expenses and registration fee of $250 per player, the association will endorse the player to participate in the tournament. Also note, that there is an entry fee of $250 for the coach which can be performed by a parent. If this route is taken, the parent/coach is provided with living accommodations. There can only be one coach for the 14U team and one coach for the 16U team. Travel arrangements to El Salvador will have to be made by the parent.

“You must confirm your child’s participation by Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 2 p.m. by return e-mail or we would assume that your child will not be travelling. The 16U team departs Nassau July 19, 2018 and the 14U team departs Nassau July 27, 2018. The fact sheet will be provided upon confirmation.”

That letter was signed by the secretary of the association Chilean Burrows.

It is my understanding that the response in acceptance of the terms of the communication, has been minimal at best. Parents would certainly want to provide their children with incidental money when they travel, so add travel costs, plus the $500 for registration/coach and for one player the total could be upwards of $1,000. Of course that doubles if two children in a household have qualified.

On Sunday, I received a call from a lady representing herself as Ms. Weir, president of the BLTA, and she insisted that despite the content of the letter, the team has no “national” status.

“It’s not a national team. We told the parents that they would have to cover costs. This is nothing new to the BLTA. Before I became president I was the general secretary for four years,” said Weir.

Well, confusion abounds within the BLTA family. Parents are upset. Why should they pay for their children to represent the country?

Also, how could it be in order to have just one coach per category (for male and female players)? If the one coach is a male, would that be acceptable, for the female players? That question was a priority for one particular parent.

The BLTA letter clearly speaks to a team under the auspices of the parent body. Thus, it would be a national team.

Weir thinks differently. A thorough explanation is definitely due.

The executive board of the BLTA currently is listed as follows: President – Darnette Weir, 1st Vice President – Ceron Rolle, 2nd Vice President – Terran Rodgers, Treasurer – Bjorn Ferguson, Assistant Treasurer – Timothy Dames, General Secretary Chilean Burrows, Assistant Secretary – Nadine Seymour-Munroe. The council members are: Brent Johnson, Philip Major Jr., Perry Newton Jr., Marvin Rolle and Wesley Rolle.


  • To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at [email protected] or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.


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