Thursday, Jan 17, 2019
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The ball is in Minister Rolle’s court

New Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle.

Anew year has dawned!

The sports sector of the country remains poised for greater maximizing of the God-blessed athletic/coaching/administrative resources available to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

The chief lady of sports for the government of The Bahamas has before her a playing field that could reap many regional and international rewards, if Cabinet of The Bahamas members in full recognize the worth of national sports as a prime commodity for The Bahamas – perhaps our most valuable product.

Indeed, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle has a table well set, waiting for her partnership and consistency in selling The Bahamas’ sports brand to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and the rest of her Cabinet colleagues.

Undoubtedly, despite the territorial character of independent sports organizations, it is, and always has been, the central administration of the day that is expected to come forth with sustainable amounts of money to best foster development of the active disciplines. It is in this vein that Minister Rolle will be challenged most.

It is quite clear, judging by the terrible decision made last year by the government in cancelling the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays, scheduled initially for The Bahamas, that the Cabinet is not steeped in sports wisdom. If Minister Rolle has to solicit personnel to step forward with her and make presentations appropriately to the Cabinet, then so be it.

Capitalizing on our sports product to the fullest is an opportunity that Minister Rolle and her government have.

The Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) is solidly positioned to work with the sports ministry to nurture sports development in the country. The sport of athletics (track and field), continues to be the lead component; basketball has a professional base that could be utilized to spark tremendous national growth; swimming improves year after year; flag football has captured the imagination of thousands; soccer must focus on transferring the beach style modest success to the traditional field; tennis has growth potential, although saddled with internal conflicts; boxing is showing signs of revitalization; baseball is under one roof again and best placed, than has been the case for decades, to recapture the golden era of the sport; softball, similarly, is in a growth pattern; sloop sailing maintains its nation-wide popularity; and volleyball, cycling, gymnastics, rowing, archery, rugby, judo and mixed martial arts all are inclined for advancement.

Minister Rolle has under her jurisdiction, three quasi-government sports entities. They are the National Sports Authority (NSA), the Bahamas Anti-Doping Commission (BADC) and the Bahamas Boxing Commission (BBC). They are significant, as tools of the government to assist in the overall management and control of the national sports landscape.

I have been made to understand that Minister Rolle is serious-minded about a close-up relationship with the sports scene, in order to be best fortified for questions that might be asked of her by Cabinet colleagues, in particular Prime Minister Dr. Minnis. In that light, the Director of Sports in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Tim Munnings, who is by legislation, a member of the NSA, BADC and the BBC, will be hard-pressed to craft an enlightened culture.

If The Bahamas’ sports brand is to flourish, as it could, though, the government will have to heighten its assistance program, financially and otherwise. Thus, at hand is the huge task that Minister Rolle, Director of Sports Munnings and company must hurdle on behalf of the national sports fraternity.

Prime Minister Dr. Minnis loves to characterize his administration as a “caring government”. Let’s see how that translates for sports for 2019 and beyond.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address sturrup1504@gmail.com or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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