During my involvement in sports which happens to be a very long time (1970), I have had cause to encounter many Ministers of Sport. All of them meant well and all had excellent ideas as is always the case with any person who aspires to such high office. I am quite impressed with the current Minister of Sport; he seems to have a grasp of what is needed if sports are to improve in Guyana. It is my view that he is limited in terms of what he can do with whatever resources he has at his disposal.
However, I think that the Minister is not being properly advised. The National Sports Commission, which I presume is the advisory body of the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, has not been functioning for some time now, and although he has other advisors around in the interim, he is being ill advised. When the new National Sports Commission becomes functional again, I would like to suggest that it should be comprised of administrators and technical personnel qualified in their various areas, eg, coaches, referees, judges, former national players, etc. These persons are important when decisions have to be made in the interest of athletes.
I say all of the above to express my disappointment with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport for denying the BKI Western Tigers Football Club the use of the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH) to run off a fund-raising football competition, and instead gave them the use of the National Gymnasium.
If the authorities really had concern for the health of Guyanese footballers and athletes they would know that the surface of the Gymnasium is unsafe for competitive football; it is smooth and players tend to slide, which is very dangerous. There is also a concrete wall which on many occasions players are either deliberately pushed into or accidentally crashed into. Another aspect is that the Gymnasium is small, and with the amount of people who attend football we have an accommodation problem immediately. Also the Gymnasium is not healthy for the players because the ventilation is poor and they could easily become dehydrated and exhausted. Administrators must be cognizant of these facts and not make sport with sports.
The executives of the BKI Western Tigers were told that the National Sports Commission had a new policy that football would no longer be played at the CASH.
I doubt that is the true reason, because I asked a number of the past commission members and they said they had not met for over two years.
I was once the Manager/Supervisor in charge of the CASH and the National Gymnasium and I am aware of how some people attached to the ministry work. It is my view that football is being targeted and that should be changed.
I am aware that it is said that the ball will damage the Sports Hall, but the ball is a special ball which hardly ever bounces and most times it is played on the ground. In basketball it is flung around, in volleyball it is struck and it flies everywhere, in hockey the ball is hit and really flies and can cause more damage to the CASH.
It is also peddled that the supporters or spectators of football are unruly, etc, is another of the reasons why football cannot have the use of the CASH. I can go on and on, but it may sound as if I am attacking the ministry although I am only crying out for justice for the footballers and fans.
I saw some comments made by the Minister in the newspapers on the use of the CASH; here is an organisation willing to rent the venue so that some revenue could be earned, yet they are being denied for various unrealistic reasons.
I implore the Minister to review the decision of the Ministry of Sport preventing the club from having the tournament, and let good sense prevail.