Tourism minister could be major obstacle to host of world relays

Overnight, when many politicians are elected, in their minds, they become virtual embodiments of all knowledge.

Thus, Dionisio D’Aguilar, unlike his late father Vincent, and uncle, Adrian, (who were major contributors to the ‘golden era of sports’ in The Bahamas), feels he has the appropriate rationale regarding the hosting of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Worlds Relays here in The Bahamas.

Does he have the sports background to recognize the many positive intangibles that are directly connected to the 2021 IAAF World Relays taking place in this country? Just what about this D’Aguilar version verifies that he fully understands the great impact worldwide, as a result of The Bahamas being synonymous with the world relays?

That was the case from the very inception of the global mega venture of the IAAF. Yet, D’Aguilar has been reported questioning the benefits of hosting the world relays. It is quite understandable that he would form the view that the benefits for the national sports landscape and the wider Bahamas “are questionable”, given his lack of meaningful sports background.

What does he really know about the sports terrain, nationally, regionally or internationally? In this space from the outset, I lobbied for the Bahamian negotiators to make every effort to get  a piece of the world television rights, owned by the IAAF, and a percentage (even if just one to five percent) of all international sponsorships. They were not successful.

Still though, the exposure the country has gotten compares favorably with millions of taxpayers’ money which D’Aguilar seemingly condones being paid to marketing firms, and the millions advanced to ensure that prime golf events take place in the country.

When one takes in the entire tourism commitment that includes dishing out funds for other sports hosting, D’Aguilar’s argument against the world relays falls far short, in my view.

So he looms as the biggest obstacle if the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) is able to make a pitch for the Cabinet of The Bahamas to put the hosting of the world relays, in particular the 2021 edition, back on the table.

The sports insight deficiency of D’Aguilar is even more reason why new BAAA President Drumeco Archer must get a representative team together with the capacity to enunciate to the tourism minister, other colleagues who are skeptical, Prime Minster Dr. Hubert Minnis and indeed Cabinet members who are inclined to be supportive of the world relays, how simply practical it is to renew the relationship.

This is the conclusion of a three-part series on the world relays. I just wished to provide some food for thought.

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

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