Monday, May 25, 2020
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New BAAA chief seems prepared for demanding role

All that can be truthfully said thus far about new Bahamas Association of Athletics Association (BAAA) President Drumeco Archer, is that he is responding quite well, initially, to the demands to be dealt with if the pre-elections cycle promises are to be fulfilled.

Last Saturday, Archer and his slate virtually trampled incumbent president Rosamunde Carey and her team of candidates, to take over control of the second most powerful track and field organization in the English-speaking Caribbean, behind only Jamaica. It was a powerful message crafted by Archer as he bombarded members of the national track and field fraternity with promises of having the capacity to bring in the kind of administration that would earn the right to be called the ‘Greatest Of All Time’ (GOAT).

He promised to network on behalf of the athletes, in particular to provide the best development and progressive forum, collectively; to be inclusive of all who participate in the sport, in every corner of the archipelago; and above all, to perform his duties with the fullest of transparency.

Archer, by his own admission, takes over a broke organization. He should know that if he holds firmly to the ideals he put forth along the way to winning a coveted national sports presidency, the Government of The Bahamas, Corporate Bahamas and staunch track and field-supporting individuals will rally to the cause.

From a historic perspective and given the availability of prime international products such as Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Steven Gardiner, to go along with past world elites, the BAAA should be a marketing giant, capable of promoting several events each year that generate revenue to go well along with the government grants and corporate donations and sponsorships.

According to Archer, he took over the BAAA with the money chest bare. It is now for him to prove his worth and make the parent body for athletics in The Bahamas as viable as possible.

He seems prepared to work, hard. Those are the early signs I have noticed. Right away, he has to leave for Monaco, where the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) 2018 Awards Presentation bonanza event will take place next week, Tuesday, December 4. Miller-Uibo is a finalist for the top female athlete award.

It will be an opportunity for Archer to do further networking with IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe and other IAAF executives, about the possibility of the world relays returning to The Bahamas in the year 2021. Much has been written about the Bahamian government’s decision not to pay the $5 million fee to the IAAF for the rights to host the 2019 World Relays.

Clearly, Lord Coe and his colleagues in the IAAF were disappointed at the turn of events related to The Bahamas bailing out. It took Lord Coe and his associates months to find a replacement nation to host the 2019 World Relays. Finally, Japan stepped in. Accordingly, the fourth edition of the IAAF World Relays will be hosted by the city of Yokohama, in Japan.

We move beyond that now. The new BAAA president, Archer, is firmly on board the lobbying ship for the 2021 IAAF World Relays and my understanding is that he plans to be proactive in pursuit of this mega international sporting event. Then, there is another immediate item on the table. I refer to Grand Bahama.

“I wish to recognize the historic contribution of the island of Grand Bahama to the national track and field development, as well as some of the prime athletes who have been produced there. It is the plan to give a major focus right from the outset to Grand Bahama and move right on around the country. We will be inclusive of all within the national track and field family,” said Archer on Thursday.

His early initiatives are pleasing. Hopefully, particularly in regards to bidding for the hosting of the 2021 IAAF World Relays, Archer will be afforded a responsive Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis. This is a grand opportunity for the prime minister to ensure some national balance to the negative comments his government has been receiving in recent times.

He and the government are at odds with the union movement in the country. Several significant government departments are up in arms over salaries and owed entitlements, and in general are disturbed over not getting the kind of appropriate treatment they are insisting upon.

Prime Minister Dr. Minnis could find Archer and the world relays an excellent collective plank to work from, in regaining popularity in the land for the government.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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