Basketball row unresolved… but players get access to sports hall

Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) President Nigel Hinds said yesterday that even though the federation was allowed access to the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall last evening to continue their training, the dispute between the federation and the National Sports Commission (NSC) has not been officially resolved.

Speaking to the media at the Homestretch Avenue facility, Hinds said that until the NSC responds in writing to the federation’s correspondence for use of the venue to prepare their respective association and national teams, the matter currently engaging the two bodies will not be officially solved.

Hinds said that a letter was sent to the office of NSC director Neil Kumar requesting specific dates for national, association and junior teams training at the venue. He said that the days were Tuesday and Thursday from 6:00pm-10:00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8:00am-12:00pm.

He noted that upon arrival at the venue yesterday, there were told by the security that he didn’t have the keys to open the premises or to turn on the lights. However, he noted that after a 45-minute delay as well as a phone call from the GABF Vice President Michael Singh, the venue was eventually made accessible. Kumar could not be reached for comment last evening.

“What happen tonight is very disrespectful and should not happen again. The NSC and the ministry should ensure that there is fair usage of the sports hall to all sports”, said Hinds.

Members of the Georgetown Junior team practising at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall after gaining entry to the facility
Members of the Georgetown Junior team practising at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall after gaining entry to the facility

Hinds further said “We are getting the team ready for the CBC and being denied is a travesty and an injustice and we feel strongly about it. We will do everything in our powers to get this problem sorted out”.

He said that the entire issue started from an opinion piece that was published in the Stabroek News, which was based on the federation dissenting against the NSC’s decision to entrust the Youth Basketball Guyana (YBG) body with the power to select the Inter Guiana Games (IGG) teams.

“What has happened over the years is that the YGB in consultation with the NSC has selected the IGG teams. Nowhere in the world does this happen, it is the federation that does this. All the national teams are picked by the federation”, added Hinds.

He stated that even though the director says that he has special place in his heart for basketball, the sport has suffered greatly under his rule due to the lack of funding.

He noted that the federation even without the support of the government, will do everything in its power to ensure that Guyana is represented in both the male and female divisions at the upcoming Caribbean Basketball Championship tourney.

Former GABF President David Patterson during an invited comment said “The situation is absolutely ridiculous and uncalled for. I commend the executives for putting things in place to run basketball but this is continued harassment from the NSC. During my reign not a single cent was given to us”.

“Just to practice we have to pay, no other sport has to do that. We are training a national team to represent the county but we still have to pay monies to rent the sports hall”, said Patterson.

GABF President Nigel Hinds (left) speaking to the media in the presence of federation Vice President Michael Singh (centre) after gaining entry to the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall
GABF President Nigel Hinds (left) speaking to the media in the presence of federation Vice President Michael Singh (centre) after gaining entry to the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall

Patterson further noted “That’s totally unheard of. The minister of sport has totally been silent on basketball. He has allowed the director of sports to run amok without any sort of sanctions. It’s a sad day in sport when this can happen”.

“When the director of sport doesn’t get his away in selecting the IGG team, this is the result. Simply trying to bully the sport into compliance and I applaud them for standing up”, added Patterson.


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