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BAAA opts for New Providence over Grand Bahama for nationals

Once again, the capital island of New Providence is being given precedence over Grand Bahama. There is a history of Grand Bahama and the other Family Islands being upstaged by the powers that be in New Providence.

While it is understood that the seat of governance carries priority, even in situations whereby Grand Bahama or some other island could be highlighted with a national event, the decisions almost always fall in favor of New Providence.

Over the weekend, I was forwarded a communication that went out to members of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) with the name of the organization’s chief executive officer (CEO), Mae Miller, attached as the sender.

The meat of the communication was the following:

“Given the need for more than $100,000 of athletic equipment as well as provisions for a proper storage facility, we have decided that Grand Bahama would not be the most conducive venue for this event (2019 BAAA Senior National Championships) at this time. In this regard, a decision was made to move the venue back to New Providence with a view of Grand Bahama hosting another event at a later time.”

The vagueness of the position stipulated is actually insulting to Grand Bahamians.

“Another event at a later time” could really mean next year, the year following or at a time even much later. Memory would serve most Bahamians quite well in that the government of The Bahamas, with the urging of the BAAA, spent millions to get the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium ready for the first International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays back in 2014, not that long ago.

The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, in conjunction with the National Sports Authority (NSA), have in storage the appropriate equipment, some of which could readily be shipped to Grand Bahama to suffice the BAAA National Championships, scheduled for July this time around.

If there is a shortfall in funds, certainly, given their past record, corporate Grand Bahama entities would step forward to assist. There is still a lot of time left before July, and the Grand Bahama Sports Complex (GBSC), although in need of refurbishment, is not nearly $100,000 away from being a quality facility.

In my view, with the additional equipment that the NSA and the sports ministry could provide, $50,000 could easily put the GBSC in tip-top shape. I therefore submit that the reasoning presented by the BAAA, purportedly through CEO Miller, does not hold water at all.

Also, I was informed by Central Grand Bahama Member of Parliament and Grand Bahama Amateur Athletic Association (GBAAA) Past President Iram Lewis on Saturday that the island’s parliamentarians are in full support of the BAAA nationals remaining as announced, scheduled for Grand Bahama.

Lewis, an outstanding sprinter in past years and an Olympian, stated bluntly that he saw absolutely no reason why Grand Bahama could not accommodate the BAAA nationals.

Undoubtedly, the situation begs a thorough explanation from BAAA President Drumeco Archer. He got overwhelming support from the track and field fraternity and otherwise in Grand Bahama, along the way toward unseating Rosamunde Carey for the BAAA presidency late last year.

The decision that the BAAA has already taken, according to the communication identified to have come from “Mae Miller — BAAA CEO” is unfair, given the true factors. It needs to be noted that the BAAA, as an independent organization, is not subservient to the government of The Bahamas. However, the BAAA would be nothing much without the government facilities, and the grant provided each year.

If government parliamentarians are supportive of the scheduling of the BAAA nationals staying as announced, and the funding/equipment issue could be resolved, then the situation is ripe for a compromise.

It seems the decision to move the BAAA nationals from Grand Bahama to New Providence this year, should be revisited.

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

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