Government’s decision a major setback for highly respected sports host country
Over the last decade or so, this tiny country, in the hosting of mega sports events, has outdone many other larger nations that dwarf The Bahamas in population.
I refer to three International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Relays competitions; a sailing world championships; an international beach soccer world cup; and the Commonwealth Youth Games.
That’s a collective, phenomenal achievement for The Bahamas. Supplemented by being the location for prestigious regional events as well, the aforementioned highly regarded international products enabled The Bahamas to gain the reputation as one of the leading sports host nations in the world.
Coupled with the high level Bahamian elites performances, the national sporting fraternity moved clearly far out front of any other aspect of our society in enhancing the image of The Bahamas. Yet, one central administration after the other, has downplayed sports in comparison to budget allocations for other essential sectors of the Bahamas.
There is no intent here to diminish the importance of health care, tourism education, etc. but sports has proven to be the big winner for The Bahamas, internationally. Our showing in sports around the world has resulted in great respect for this country. Without a doubt, the sports fraternity has functioned heads and shoulders above those who have operated in the political arena.
Ironically, those of the political arena hold the fate of the nation’s sports fraternity in their hands. The Bahamas Olympic Committee does its part; sports federations, independent associations, clubs, etc. have been doing a lot of work to heighten the Bahamas Sports Brand, enduring financial sacrifices along the way.
The politicians, while always available for the photo opportunities when the sports fraternity produces, have failed miserably in assisting with the sports development process across the land.
Now, this present government has taken the air our of the sail of the sports fraternity by passing up on one of the greatest opportunities for us to be able to rub shoulders with leading sports countries around the world.
The 2019 IAAF World Relays for The Bahamas has been cancelled!
Those who now govern don’t see the event as a priority.
The stated cost of $5 million is too much.
That’s the apparent reasoning of this government.
Those of us who constantly struggle to find funding, to continually drive sporting initiatives are left to wonder about the government’s perspective on sports and to note the huge amount of taxpayers’ dollars spent otherwise and to compare.
It certainly looks like this Dr. Hubert Minnis Government has sports on the bottom rung of the ladder.
The rallying cry of Dr. Minnis and his Free National Movement associates, prior to being elected to govern the country on May 10 last year, was “It’s The people’s Time.” Their have been countless repeats of that FNM election theme in the House of Assembly, subsequently.
Well, it is certainly not looking as though this is “the time” for those of the sporting fraternity.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at [email protected] or on WhatsApp at 727-6363).