Sports Academy process stalled

HON. LANISHA ROLLE …Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture

One positive aspect about former Prime Minister Perry Christie was how good he proved to be in initiating meaningful projects.

The magnificent Baha Mar hospitality complex in New Providence on the West Bay Strip, that hallmark facility, is a case in point.

In sports, I point to the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium which has been home to some of the finest international events in recent times, in particular, the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Relays and the Commonwealth Youth Games.

Today, I wish to focus on another of Christie’s great ideas, the National Sports Academy. Unfortunately, (just like National Health Insurance), Christie’s lacking for substantive follow-ups, to successful conclusions, the National Sports Academy was not delivered during his term in office.

The concept though, is brilliant and ideal for expanding and enhancing the Bahamas Sports Brand, to the point whereby this country would be twice as powerful as it is now on the regional and international scenes.

Although much was done, regarding the initial stages of development of the academy, during the tenure of Minister of Sports Dr. Daniel Johnson, when the Progressive Liberal Party got unceremoniously ousted from governance in 2017, the project was unfinished.

In came the Free National Movement Government and Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis positioned Michael Pintard as the Minister of Youth Sports and Culture.

Pintard was in place for a bit over a year and nothing much, regarding the academy was addressed. No real headway was made.

Now, at the forefront of national sports for the government is Minister Lanisha Rolle. She inherits a sports table, on which one of the prime items is the National Sports Academy. How she deals with that important plank within the sports landscape, among other matters, will define her as sports chief.

The academy is that special vehicle which, as the umbrella body for national sports (under the jurisdiction of the Government of The Bahamas), could inspire and coordinate an upscale sports brand.

It is the academy, which if structured properly, would best go into the far reaches of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, to corral and pool the sports talent, that is in abundance in the land. No doubt, there is a lot of raw sports material in various communities across the archipelago, that could be refined and nurtured to the world elite level.

It is imperative, I think, that Minister Rolle places the National Sports Academy, high on her agenda, to be appropriately fashioned to get the maximum result for the country.

A fully-structured National Sports Academy, that is functioning, would be the bright feather in Minister Rolle’s cap.

Indeed, it would be a crowning achievement for her, getting such a significant national projected completed, whereas her predecessors, for various reasons, failed.

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

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