Bannister as DPM, could heighten government’s national sports focus

HON. DESMOND BANNISTER … Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Works

SPECIAL SPORTS SCOPE

The elevation of Minister of Works Desmond Bannister to the Deputy Prime Minister position in the country, should be well-received, generally. He has been quite an able politician, who has served the country with dignity, and earned the respect of all and sundry, across the political divide.

For those of us within the national sports fraternity however, the confidence in him, demonstrated by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, could very well result in changing the landscape. I am of the view, that with Bannister, now, as the second most influential politician, the scenario bodes very well for sports attention, and accordingly, sports development throughout the country.

Way back in 2002, when the country was led by the largest group of politicians who had rode sports to their high national profiles, I pointed out at the time in a column, that the fraternity was poised to be empowered more so than ever before.

Sadly, the situation, financially, did not change for sports, when it came to the national budget. That government and successive central administrations never arrived at the point of acknowledging the importance of sports development to nation building. So, sports continued to be at the bottom rung of the ladder when national budget allocations were decided.

Now, I have a strong feeling, that Bannister will indeed make a positive difference for that aspect of life in The Bahamas, that propelled him to national prominence. His sporting background is highly commendable, not so much as a track athlete, but certainly as a sports administrator.

His sports resume includes several terms of presidency of national track and field. He came on stream as the track and field chief at a time when that sport was stagnant, and, he inspired motivation in young boys and girls across the length and breadth of the nation, to focus on putting themselves in position to successfully earn scholarships.

Subsequently, when he moved away from sports administration, opting for frontline politics, he sat in the chair of the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture. I recall vividly, during that period, 2009, to be exact, the monumental role he played in supporting one of the greatest sporting events ever hosted in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

The event, Caribbean Sports Awards Icons (CASI) Banquet, spotlighted stalwarts of the region like no other ever, before, or since. The 2009 CASI Banquet staged, in New Providence at Breezes, and the 2007 one held at the Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, Jamaica, were two of a special kind, and Bannister as the nation’s, sports chief recognized the significance of The Bahamas being associated with CASI, historically.

There is no doubt, that he well relates to the national merit of sports, and how much the young lads and lasses, who will be the country’s leaders of tomorrow, can benefit therefrom.

It is from such a backdrop that, the new Deputy Prime Minister Desmond Bannister, stands well-equipped to lend meaningful influence around the nation’s economic team’s table; and inside the Cabinet of the Bahamas, on behalf of national sports development, inclusive of a much larger national budget allocation.

Congratulations Hon. Sir!

The national sports picture indeed, is looking brighter.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com or on what WhatsApp at 727-6363

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