Friday, July 6, 2018
By BRENT STUBBS
LET's welcome the first female Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Lanisha Rolle.
Rolle stepped into office on Wednesday, replacing Michael Pintard, who has been moved to the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources where he will have responsibilities for regattas.
As she takes office, Rolle faces a number of issues that are now added with the cancellation of the International Amateur Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Relays, which was scheduled for May 10-11, 2019 at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.
Additionally, there are some other pressing matters like the completion of the new Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium and the restructuring of the subvention programme for our athletes.
There were those who were of the opinion that the World Relays exemplified the Bahamas as a premier destination for sports and in particular track and field as there were other countries like China and Jamaica who were in consideration for hosting the event.
Then there are those who felt that it just wasn't feasible for the government to be spending $5 million on the event, despite the fact that it attracted some of the top athletes from around the world in two days of relay excitement.
The question is where is the feasible study or comprehensive report on the expenses and whether or not there could have been some other alternative measures taken, like including more private sponsorship, to come on board and assist the government with the expenses.
Obviously, there will be some ramifications coming out of the Bahamas' decision to cancel the event with just 10 months away from hosting it again after doing it in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
But there are also some concerns as to why there is no support for the IAAF World Relays, but they are pushing another version of the Bahamas Bowl collegiate football game that is set for December 21 at the stadium.
The teams participating will not be known until November when the champions of Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference are decided.
The difference is that more spectators show up to watch the IAAF World Relays than they do for the Bahamas Bowl.
However, the Bahamas gets some free publicity from the live coverage provided by ESPN for the bowl game, so that might be a major factor.
Talking about the figures, we hope that some definitive decision is made on either the completion of the new baseball stadium or to have it demolished and replaced with a smaller facility where senior baseball can be played again in the country.
The sport has been deprived of a major facility for the senior players to play, particularly with the fact that we have more and more players earning professional baseball contracts, either playing at the junior level or through their performances in high schools and colleges in the United States.
At some point, a lot of these players will be returning home and will join the host of local players as they make the transition from the junior ranks and so they will need a viable facility to play in.
And as we continue to lament on the figures, what's the status on those athletes that are under subvention by the government? Who is on and what are they going to receive and who has been removed?
We wait for a response in those matters.