Newton set to run for BLTA presidency

Perry Newton, regarded as one who has done wonders for the junior program of the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA), is now running for the top spot of the local governing body of the sport of tennis.

According to reports, incumbent president Darnette Weir will not be offering herself for re-election, opening the door for Newton to step in and challenge for the top position. At this time, it is unknown if others will challenge for the president’s position of the BLTA. The election of officers is set for Saturday, July 4, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the BLTA’s National Tennis Centre.

“Working in Junior Development of the BLTA was definitely a joy, especially working with the beginners. They have an eagerness that is second to none,” said Newton.

Running on Newton’s slate are five women inclusive of Natishkah Barrett for first vice president, Chilean Burrows for second vice president, Yvette Godet as the assistant treasurer and Cameel McDonald and Tara Mactaggart for spots on the council. Other team members are John Laramore for secretary general; Michael Butler as the assistant secretary; Timothy Dames for the treasurer spot; and Bernard H. Clarke, Everette Munroe and Steve Taylor as council members.

“We see the interest in tennis is growing, and from working in different communities, the need for sports and its value to both young persons and adults is at an all-time high. The expansion of growth and development is key with a focus on juniors’ and seniors’ development, coaching and officiating to ensure tennis’ sustainability,” said Newton.

Newton has worked in public relations for the BLTA since 2015. In 2016, he was elected treasurer and then ran for a council member position in 2018. After being successfully elected to the council, he was named head of junior development. From 2015 to 2018, Newton was also a director on the executive board of the national tennis center, serving as treasurer for that entity under the presidency of Elwood Donaldson.

“The core focus of this team’s administration will be to create and execute a Tennis Sustainability Initiative (TSI) focusing on the growth and development of tennis throughout the islands of The Bahamas,” said Newton in his dissertation. “Creating a sustainable environment means ensuring that we attract new junior and senior athletes to the sport of tennis, design programs that further assist with the development of existing athletes, develop impactful relationships with new sponsors as well as training new coaches and officials, which will all aid in strengthening the future of tennis in The Bahamas.”

Newton said his team’s vision is to create and maintain an environment which fosters and encourages the growth and sustainability of the sport of tennis throughout The Bahamas, and his team’s mission is to create programs and opportunities, while removing barriers, thereby making tennis accessible throughout The Bahamas.

He listed as his primary goals: increase the number of certified coaches; increase the number of officials; expand the junior program; execute tennis development on the Family Islands; stage additional adult tournaments; integration of UTR (Universal Tennis Rating) in national tournaments; and to increase fundraising. Newton said their core values are integrity, growth, innovation, teamwork, communication and excellence. He added that his team’s make-up comprises individuals from various cross sections of The Bahamas.

“When assembling a team to serve, it was important to be inclusive of the entire Bahamas,” he said. “As such, this team is comprised of the president of the Grand Bahama Tennis Association and the president of the Abaco Tennis Association. This team also includes representation from the clubs, inclusive of the president of the Southwest Club and representatives from the Gym Tennis Club and the national tennis center. We have an excellent mix of continuity from four prior board members with new talents from persons serving for the first time. There is a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience coming from the areas of tennis, finance, law, education, science and the business world. This team is visionary, competent, industrious, innovative, enthusiastic and will work with all tennis stakeholders to achieve and maintain tennis sustainability.”

Newton said he believes in the vehicle of sports to provide focus and growth.

“It is never too late to start, and if you do it, do it properly,” he said.

Over the past year as head of junior development, he was instrumental in introducing over 50 juniors to the sport of tennis. He also organized two coaching courses, resulting in 24 newly certified coaches in The Bahamas. Newton said he brings an enthusiasm for the sport, a love of people and a plan for growth and development that will aid in the advancement and sustainability of tennis in The Bahamas.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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