Basketball impasse is a reflection of the NSC’s attempt to control the game and shut out the GABF

Dear Editor,

My attention was directed to a letter in the May 17th edition of SN penned by the Director of Sports where reference was made to an agreement between the National Sports Commission (NSC) and Guyana Amateur Basketball Federa-tion (GABF) under my stewardship, which suggested that training and selection of basketball teams for the Inter Guiana Games (IGG) by the NSC was acceptable – any such statement is a complete falsehood.

The current impasse between the NSC/GABF is a case of déjà vu; in 2010 after being elected president of the GABF, I attended a planning meeting for the IGG, where the matter of which body was responsible for basketball activities in the country was raised; the NSC laid claim to this right based on some “understanding” with my predecessor the late Godwin McPherson – this was unacceptable to me and the GABF. Other attendees at that meeting also confirmed that under each association’s regulations, all sporting activity irrespective of the level remains under the direct control of the local association, needless to say the meeting was terminated without resolution. The NSC’s response was similar to what is now occurring – the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH) was deemed off limits to the GABF – so much so when the Federation attempted to host an international team (DC Jammers) that summer for the development of our local teams, we were told that the Sports Hall was “unavailable”. For those games to proceed it took a formal request by the manager of the DC Jammers team to the Guyana Ambassador to the USA, who raised the issue with his local counterparts, after which the venue was “available”.

During my GABF presidency, the NSC continuously used the lack of alternative indoor basketball playing facilities to attempt to control the sport. The Federation was required to pay $50,000 rental per night, plus $6,000 per night for cleaners as well as $2,500 each night for the caretaker since basketball games were played in the evening and this was outside of normal working hours. All payments had to be made in advance; in full; we have reliably confirmed that the NSC’s chosen body the Youth Basketball Guyana (YBG) are not required to pay a single penny. The Federation’s single largest expense when hosting tournaments for the development of the nation’s players to at some time represent our country was the rental of our country’s only indoor basketball facility. This issue was raised on numerous occasions with the NSC without success – so much for the claim of seeking to realize our athletes’’ full potential!

Reference was also made in the letter to the GABF’s capacity to organize and prepare for the IGG teams, it is understandable that the Director of Sports sought to overlook the fact that the GABF was able to send a male team to the last CBC games in The Bahamas after an absence of over 10 years from international competition.   Additionally, female teams have competed on several occasions in an annual tournament in Antigua which has contributed significantly to their development; this oversight is no doubt due to the

fact that no financial assistance was ever received by the GABF for

any basketball activity (local or

international) during my presidency – an act which completely contradicts the claims of ‘promoting sport and its organization by all available methods’ – the national association being the highest authority of any such methods. On the other hand, an examination of the NSC accounts will reveal that any monies spent on basketball have been provided to the YBG.

To mitigate the lack of accountability claim, which is not new, the GABF during my tenure ensured that a formal report was provided for all activities which we shared not only with NSC but with the media. This claim has been made unsuccessfully before, so much so, that I personally hand delivered reports to the Director’s deputy requesting that he ensure same is passed on and read – I have no doubt that these facts will continue not to be acknowledged, thus seeking to justify the NSC’s non support for the sport’s legal body.

Sadly, the above reflects the tip of the iceberg with regards to the Federation’s engagement with the NSC from the time of my predecessor to present; however I am heartened by the initial efforts being made by the new executives to bring some resolution to these vexing issues.

I am also heartened at the Director’s stated commitment to ‘continue working with all and sundry for peace, unity and the realization of our athlete’s full potential’ and await with bated breath to see the streamlining of the organization and flowering of my beloved sport.

 Yours faithfully,

David Patterson

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