There has been a back-and-forth debate in the sports fraternity of the country following the 2020-2021 National Budget communication that was presented by Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle in the House of Assembly last week.
One of the most discussed topics is the Government of The Bahamas’ subvention program for athletes for the upcoming year. The athletes’ subvention took a hit of $269,230 this budget period. It was set at $1,346,150 for 2019-2020. For 2020-2021, that figure is at $1,076, 920.
The president of arguably the most influential sporting federation in the country gave his stance on the topic. Speaking on behalf of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA), President Drumeco Archer said that the cuts do not affect those who are compliant with the National Sports Policy, thereby offering his support.
“The government has taken a very novel approach to the way they would have cut subvention. Those budget reduction only goes to the extent that they have removed persons who have not operated within the level of the National Sports Policy,” said Archer. “Those who remain on subvention will remain at their respective tier. I believe that is a good approach – if you are on subvention you will be rewarded for being on and if you do not comply with the sports policy then you will be removed.”
Archer said the BAAA intends to create a full publication of those athletes on the subvention list at the completion of the national budget debate.
The subvention program was created primarily to assist athletes with training, payment for coaches and purchasing supplements. To help those who are not on government’s subvention, the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) has established an athlete’s welfare commission. All of the federations will be receiving more information in that regard by the end of the week.
It has been a tough year financially in The Bahamas, as the country still grapples with Hurricane Dorian from last year and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cuts to the national subvention program comes as no major surprise.
The BAAA is set to host an alternative national track and field championships July 30 to August 1. Archer hopes that there are some other meets leading up to that meet so that athletes can see what kind of condition they are in heading into the nationals.
After nationals, next up for the BAAA is the Masquerade Weekend festivities closer to the end of the year.