It’s one thing to call a press conference, ask for meetings with top government officials and then ask for privacy until these meetings are held.
It’s quite another to schedule such a meeting and then simply not show up. Director of Sport Neil Kumar is furious at the Kashif and Shanghai Organization for failing to attend a meeting at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport on the future of this year’s tourney.
“I mad right now; I was waiting there with the Minister of Sport and the Permanent Secretary for over an hour and didn’t hear anything from them, not up to now!” Kumar lamented yesterday.
The meeting was scheduled for last Wednesday and Kashif Muhammad confirmed on Thursday that his organization was indeed absent. Kumar said the meeting was set to hammer out the details of this year’s Kashif and Shanghai tournament and to receive and consider requests from the organizers, but instead it turned out to be essentially 60 minutes worth of small talk between himself, Dr. Frank Anthony and P.S Keith Booker.
“We want to know what is going on with this tournament. It has potential for sport and tourism and we want to know what is happening this year. All we are hearing is what is in the media. If they have lost major sponsors let them tell us who and how much money, everybody want to know,” Kumar declared.
He said the Ministry of Sport has systems in place for assisting sporting bodies with taxes if that is indeed the problem, pointing to the various airport tax and airline ticket tax, and sporting equipment tax waivers that the ministry has considered over the years. Minister Anthony had also lamented the missed opportunity last week when contacted by Stabroek Sport. Muhammad had also confirmed that the meeting was bypassed owing to “a pressing engagement.”
He said at the time that he was hopeful that the meeting could be rescheduled. Kumar said the Ministry and Department of Sport were still open to meeting with the organizers given the spin-offs that the tournament creates and the implications if it is not held this year. Muhammad and his organizing partner Aubrey ‘Shanghai’ Major have said that the impact of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) levy of approximately 900,000 dollars and the value added tax coupled with their reluctance to hike ticket prices has caused a rethink of this year’s tournament.
They have publicly said they are seeking meetings with President Bharrat Jagdeo and the President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Colin Klass to address some issues of concern.