Mario Bowleg looks to unify sports

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg, who was sworn in yesterday, said his first order of business will be setting up a sports and culture advisory council.

Bowleg, a former Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) president, was one of 11 Cabinet ministers who received their instruments of appointment at Baha Mar yesterday.

“Well the first thing we want to do is when we get inside there is put an advisory council together when it comes to culture and sports,” Bowleg said.

“We want to have a sports advisory council and a culture advisory council. We want to revolutionize culture in this country. In order to do that you have to have the right stakeholders to be a part of that council and give us all the ideas that we need to rejuvenate especially the entertainment industry inside this country.”

Bowleg, who was elected as president of the BBF back in April 2019, resigned from that post on Tuesday night.

The new minister said that he is not just a sports guy but is also close to culture.

In sports he has a tough task ahead working with federations who have felt disenfranchised over the past few years. He will be looking at bettering those relationships.

“When you stand in the position as a minister, the idea and the purpose of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is to work along with the federation, [which] is responsible for all the various disciplines within the country and working along with those persons who are on the ground on a daily basis,” he said.

“They know what is going on. I think once we better that relationship with the federation there would be a smoother transition in ensuring that what they want and we can work together as to what we want as a government to make sure that we are working together for the better of all.”

One key stakeholder in the sports department of the ministry are the athletes. Bowleg said he wants the athletes to feel more appreciated. He also plans to take a look at the subvention program.

“We also want to look at the subvention program and how best we can enhance that so athletes can feel more appreciated by these administrations knowing that we were there for them prior for their success,” Bowleg said.

The Bahamas has many professional athletes on the world stage including Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Steven Gardiner, Chavano “Buddy” Hield, DeAndre Ayton, Kai Jones, Tureano Johnson and others.

“I am familiar with most of the athletes,” Bowleg said.

“It is just a matter of reaching them at the right appointed time.

“Once these athletes feel loved and appreciated by us, we should have no problem with them working and partnering with us… whatever it takes to continue to promote this country.”

Bowleg inherits a sports department that has had a tough time over the years. He has been involved in sports administration for years and has a passion for all sports. The basketball coach and banker will look to have Bahamian sports back locally and on the world stage. With the COVID-19 cases still high, there is no word as to when local sports will return.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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