Payments, reports due for well-run Commonwealth Youth Games

The Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC), with present president Romell Knowles (who was then the secretary general) as the chief executive officer, organized the finest Commonwealth Youth Games to date.

There are some hang-over issues though, a full two years since the 2017 July 18-25 sports extravaganza in New Providence, our capital island.

A significant first for The Bahamas was the Commonwealth Queen’s Baton Relay. The relay throughout Commonwealth countries leading up to the games, which further connected Queen Elizabeth II to the nations under her domain, began in 1958 for the Cardiff, Wales senior event. However, in 2017, the baton relay was a dimension for the very first time at the Commonwealth Youth Games.

The process of the baton relay was hugely successful and one of the high points of the games, at a time when The Bahamas was being celebrated as one of the mega sports-hosting nations of the world.

Amazingly, with the present central administration seemingly preferring to take the country out of the major sports host mix, events such as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays, the Ladies Professional Golfers Association (LPGA) classic and the Commonwealth Youth Games have been quickly relegated to mere memories.

The 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games though, because of delayed payments and reports, lingers for the wrong reasons. While evidence confirms that many outsourced services have indeed been handled, for the higher management level of the games, it is understood that payment is still due.

On the other hand, while I have been convinced that the present government, through its financial department, has acknowledged that all payments obligated to must be made, there is another hold-up it appears.

All of the documents, receipts, invoices, etc. are required for the processing of payments. This is where the matter becomes quite convoluted. Parties claim to have done their due diligence, yet all payments have not been made.

I submit that the government should fully revisit its endorsement and commitment to the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, and do all in its power (as it has pledged to do for the Bahamas Power and Light crisis in New Providence), in order to avoid an international sports black eye.

This Commonwealth Youth Games issue is springing up again because the host country for the next edition (2021), Trinidad & Tobago, is gearing up, with the intent to utilize the same system management entity that serviced the BOC here in 2017.

Previous to The Bahamas in 2017, the Commonwealth Youth Games event was hosted in Edinburgh, Scotland; Bendigo, Australia; Pune, India; the Isle of Man; and Apia, Samoa. In 2017, we inherited no issues with the Commonwealth Youth Games.

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

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