Wednesday, May 27, 2020
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Staying under control, proving ‘deliverables’ best for Johnson

It was unfortunate that Dr. Daniel Johnson spiraled out of control, when being interviewed on Star 106.5 Radio’s show “The Hit Back”, hosted by Nahaja Black.

When he accepted the invitation for the show, he should have understood that the hot topic of over one million dollars going to a company and no work allegedly being done within the scope, would have been a major point of discussion.

So, to get hot and to use coarse language on air, was most unbecoming of the cool, calculated, passionate, and well-meaning Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Johnson had proven to be, while in office. If the company in question assisted in expanding The Bahamas’ sports brand, all he had to do in defense of the damning Auditor General’s report, was note that factor with details and thus give the public a better understanding of the big picture.

The argument cannot be successfully made that The Bahamas did not become a major sports host nation under the tenure of Dr. Danny Johnson. Between 2012 and 2017, The Bahamas’ name was huge in the world of sports. Johnson and his Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) colleagues operated out of the box in a positive manner for national sports.

Under the previous PLP Government, the country hosted the first three International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays; forged a relationship with black colleges through American football; initiated a beneficial FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) relationship; brought international golf events on stream, inclusive of a Tiger Woods flavored tourney; heightened the national beach volleyball program through competition; hosted a Star Class international sailing championships event; and The Bahamas accordingly, became the sports mecca of the Caribbean.

Dr. Johnson could easily have argued that the report was not comprehensive and did not specify the full content of the arrangement with the company in question.

I hold no brief here today, for Dr. Johnson or the former PLP Government. I submit though, that if he has committed a great sports sin, it is in not taking full control of the mandate he had as sports minister, to be the bottom line factor for the National Sports Authority (NSA).

He allowed management of the NSA to go awry. Indeed, when one examines the National Sports Authority Act 2011, it becomes clear that the quasi-government organization, went off course in its operations.

It would have been best for Dr. Johnson to apply pressure to the NSA to broaden its marketing program. Prior to the establishment of the NSA, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture marketed the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex superbly for a lengthy period, and hosted major universities, which conducted training for their swimmers.

The NSA could have fostered a take-off from that initiative. Unfortunately, the NSA came to be considered a “prima donna” organization, its leaders seemingly functioning with an inflated view of themselves.

Dr. Johnson and subsequent sports ministers were guilty of allowing the NSA to operate without functioning exactly as the act of 2011 intended. Dr. Johnson finds himself on the defensive now, largely because of acquiescing to a poorly managed quasi-government sports entity.

He should only defend himself, though, in a manner that justifies the respect shown to him when he was Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture.

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

10.19 for Samson!