Continuing his “peace on the streets” agenda, Pastor Carlos Reid and his team have launched the 24th Annual “Peace on Da Streets” Basketball Classic, set for July 15-20.
Reid made the announcement yesterday morning at the Hope Center on Bahamas Games Boulevard. This year, the games will be played at the Hope Center from Monday, July 15 to Thursday, July 18, and the action will head to the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium on Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20.
Reid said the newly implemented girls division will aid in the development of women’s basketball in the country. It is along the lines of what new Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) President Mario Bowleg wants to see – a resurgence of female basketball in the country.
The Hyper Malt girls division will be an under-19 one, and Reid said they are vying for 10 teams with about 10 players each.
Also, there is expected to be five boys divisions this year. So far, the divisions are the Jamaica Bahamas Imports 13-and-under division, the Security Systems International 16-and-under division, the Insurance Company of The Bahamas 19-and-under division, the Sky Bahamas church division and the KFC open division.
Reid used the platform to speak about his organization’s vision of bringing peace on the streets and admonished the general public to play a part in decreasing crime.
“The organization is committed to our vision of bringing peace to our streets. Therefore, we continue to provide positive and wholesome solutions along with alternatives for our young people to discover their individual identities and turn from lives of crime and violence,” he said. “We believe that if we are going to be a better and stronger Bahamas, then every law-abiding, sensible-thinking citizen of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas must do whatever is within his or her power to make a positive contribution. We cannot and must not sit back and continue to depend on the government, the police force, churches or any other organization to solve this community issue. Each one of us is a part of our communities, but things will not change until we decide that we are going to change.”
In addition to the six division championship games to be held on the Saturday of the classic, “Family Fun Night”, there will be the Rubis Slam Dunk Contest, the Sunshine Auto Three-Point Contest and the pastors and politicians versus the number boys celebrity basketball game. Also, a fan will get an opportunity to win a cash prize by attempting a half-court shot.
Reid already started the trash talking for the celebrity game, saying that they will beat the number boys that night.
“What is amazing about it, is that despite of what our differences are, we all can come together for one common good. I believe that is the maturity of the nation, regardless of whatever we face, that we all can come together because we understand the plight of violence and what crime does to this nation. I want to commend the number boys for agreeing to get beat up on by the pastors and politicians,” Reid said.
The title sponsor for the tournament is Island Game. Representing that company at the press conference was the Executive Director at the Island Game Foundation Erica Laing.
“We believe that if we can make a change in an individual, then that individual can change his or her community, the community can change the country and the country can change the world. Right now, violence is so high among our youth and it is time to let them know that they are valued. People say that this generation is lost, but I do not think so. We think they need to be directed in the way that they should go so they will be able to make a change. Youth Against Violence (YAV) has made a difference for years, and we encourage that,” Laing said.
Laing hit back at Reid with a little trash-talking of her own, saying that the politicians and pastors do not know anything about basketball.
Island Game will be awarding laptops, iPads for the Most Valuable Players (MVPs) and cash prizes.
For the slam dunk contest, Rubis will be awarding cash prizes for the top three finishers. Reid said that Bahamian and Sacramento Kings shooting guard Chavano “Buddy” Hield is expected to be a celebrity judge for that competition.
Teams from Freeport, Grand Bahama and Bimini are expected to play in the tournament as well, making it one of the most highly anticipated summer events in New Providence. The tournament has attracted college recruiters from the United States in the past, and this year is expected to be no different. It is anticipated that scholarships will be offered.
Teams can register for the classic at the Hope Center before June 30.
Last year, there were five divisions with a total of 42 teams in action. Reid thanked the public for supporting the event over the years and is asking for continued support this year.
He also thanked the many sponsors of the event, too numerous to list. He said that without them, the classic won’e be possible.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism