Difference of opinions abound in the national sporting fraternity, just as they do in other segments of Bahamian life. This is the way of the world these days, in all democratic environments. Even, the men and women of the gospel are not spared.
People feel free to express their views and understandably so. I submit, though, that there are times when the comments of criticisms are overboard and seem agenda-driven, for the most part.
Today, let’s focus a bit on the present Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle. Unlike any other point person of governments, since a sports ministry was first established in 1977 by the late Father of the Nation Sir Lynden Pindling, this one appointed to the post, has been maligned, contemptuously.
Those who throw stones at Minister Rolle do so with scorn and total disdain. In noting the comments that are boldly expressed, it’s baffling to recognize the architects, the authors of such a wholesale attack on a vulnerable lady. Even more puzzling, is that I have yet to see a statement from the Director of Sports Tim Munnings, defending the minister against attacks he knows to be unfounded.
The bitter relationship with sports leaders is at the core of the attacks leveled at Minister Rolle. How did this situation evolve? The director of sports, as mandated by the Sports Act that defines him, is to be that important link that connects sports ministers to sports organizations and those who operate them.
In fact, upon his appointment in 2010, Munnings did not deny the responsibility of “establishing a workable relationship with athletes, coaches and federation heads” to further the positive development of sports in the country.
Therefore, Munnnings has to take much of the blame, in that going into two years now, he has not been able to better connect federation leaders with his real boss, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture.
The critics are so focused on tossing out scathing remarks at Minister Rolle, that either innocently or intentionally, it seems, they gloss over the role the director of sports should be playing.
The director of sports should be that mediator, defusing arguments, countering charges against his minister and the ministry that pays his salary, and in general, mending fences broken down by personality conflicts and misunderstandings.
There should not be a one-on-one beef between Minister Rolle and any of the nation’s sports leaders, starting from the top with Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) President Romell Knowles. It is clear that the attacks are on Minister Rolle, primarily. On some occasions, the question has been posed as to who in the ministry is advising Minister Rolle.
Mostly though, the critics bear down directly on the hapless lady, who rightly so, refuses to get into a public battle with her detractors.
I challenge my fellow sports leaders and others who support proper national sports development to look more deeply into the sports ministry, and then call a spade, a spade. It can’t be all about Minister Rolle.
The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is much, much more than she alone.
• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address email@example.com or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.