World-class jumper Ferguson left out of Cabinet mix by PM
Michael Pintard is gone from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. That was expected.
No meaningful strides were made for The Bahamas’ sports brand while he was in charge of the government’s national sports jurisdiction. Once Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis opted to shake his Cabinet up, it figured that Pintard would be one of the changes. Replacing him is a female.
Not many in the sports fraternity guessed right about that. If his choice was to be a member of the fairer sex, the expectation understandably would have been that the one exalted female international sports figure at his disposal would have been the prime minister’s selection. I refer to former world-class athlete and Commonwealth Games gold medal long jumper Shonel Ferguson.
I don’t wish to be a prophet of doom for the new Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Lanisha Rolle. In comparing sports background though, Ferguson should have been a no-brainer pick over Rolle. That being said, I support the view expressed by Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) President Romell Knowles.
I advise all sports leaders throughout the nation to seek to work with this lady in the hope of jump-starting The Bahamas’ sports brand once again. She inherits a stagnant product.
There has been no substantive forward movement for sports over the last year. The National Sports Academy is still, little more than just a name, even though a lot of work was done during the last three years of the previous administration.
The sports complex in Moore’s Island is still the lament of noted youth mentor Rev. Anthony Williams, a coach of the highest order. Nothing at all has happened in the way of progressing the facility since the Free National Movement (FNM) won the government over a year ago.
The plug has once again being pulled on the Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational (CBBI). Long-time associate of the sports ministry’s summer camp in Grand Bahama, Gladstone “Moon” McPhee has been pushed aside this year, even though he brought much credit and substance to that particular government’s sports program.
Also (and hopefully this information from a noted source is wrong) I have been told that the government will not be endorsing the 4th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays in 2019. If this happens to be the case, I would consider the decision to be one of the most outrageous determinations by Prime Minister Dr. Minnis and his colleagues.
The world relays is a product that is the envy of the wider world. There have been three world relays, one of the IAAF’s core international events. They have all taken place right here in The Bahamas, 2014, 2015 and 2017. The next is scheduled for 2019 and the IAAF has already agreed in principle for the event to once again be hosted by The Bahamas.
If the government pushes away the world relays, our international sports-hosting reputation would take a serious blow. It is from this backdrop that Rolle must now operate.
It’s not an enviable position. I noted that just around 28 million dollars have been allocated from the national budget for her tripartite ministry. That’s really peanuts, when one thinks of the importance of each portfolio, youth, sports and culture. So, no doubt, Rolle will be challenged, and unless she surprises and presents a sports leadership capacity of worth, the new government point person for sports will be swamped.
At the very least, given the financial limitations, Ferguson is knowledgeable of the nation’s quality sports leaders and if selected she would have been able to call upon her very own historic understanding of situations, having been an integral part of the national sports landscape for 25 years of her life, as a junior and then world elite senior athlete.
Nevertheless, it is Lanisha Rolle who has the government’s sports reins now. I say to my colleagues, let’s work with her and see where that goes.
To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at [email protected] or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.