The Grand Bahama Amateur Softball Association (GBASA) was slated to host its first Men’s and Ladies Fast-pitch Softball Tournament this weekend, August 2-5.
Expected to be staged at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex’s Softball Park, teams out of Grand Bahama, New Providence, Eleuthera and Abaco were arranged to compete over the course of the four-day period.
However, that will not be the case this weekend, as the association was forced to push the tournament back, tentatively, to August 24-26.
The association’s disappointment lay within the lack of assistance, they claim, on the part of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture in keeping the park up to standard.
The association alleged they received little to no support after requests were made to the ministry to assist in cleaning up the park leading up to the tournament. They claimed that the ministry assured them help would be sent in clearing down the weeds growing in and around the park. But to no avail, no assistance was rendered.
This past Wednesday evening, executives of the association along with their children, were seen weeding the field. Before that, a member of one of the teams that play in the association’s league offered and mowed the outfield grass to a respectable height.
The association even came out of pocket to have the drive-way leading into the parking filled in, to avoid water settling after it rains.
This past Thursday, Fast-pitch Chairman for the GBASA, Desmond Dean confirmed the postponement of the tournament. He said that the association has had to face a number of challenges in trying to get the tournament off the ground, with the maintenance of the softball park being their chief burden.
“One of the major issues we were facing was the upkeep of the facility itself, the field area and the surrounding areas around the park,” he stated. “We’ve made several pleas to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to assist us in that effort, but we’ve yet to receive any assistance in that regard.
“We actually had to go out and request donations from persons in the community to come in. As you can see now, the field has been properly cut that was done by someone in the local community. We’ve been working all week, this week, and up to yesterday (Wednesday) we’ve only had assistance from some of our players in the association and kids of our executives, and players come out here and do some weeding on the infield,” he added.
Dean expanded and described the current state of the park as “ridiculous.”
“We are committed to keeping softball alive here but there’s only so much we could do. We have the passion and the work ethic to go ahead and make it happen. But we need the Government to step in to ensure the upkeep of this facility is done in a timely fashion. So I want to take this time now to ask the powers that be to get involved and make sure this happens.”
The Freeport News reached out to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Office here in Grand Bahama. One executive under anonymity explained to this daily that management of the Complex grounds is currently under transition.
The executive further explained that recently a contractor for the maintenance of the park was awarded the job of dealing with the softball field.
“There is a contractor that was awarded the job to deal with the ball field. I’m not sure that’s exactly why the tournament was postponed. But there is someone who will deal with the field. We are currently in a transition with management at the Complex. Someone is transitioning out and we are not sure, at my level, as to who will be coming in. Everything at the moment is being done through Nassau.
“But someone has been awarded the contract for the park and they will begin work on the park as soon as possible,” they concluded.