Director of Sports Neil Kumar yesterday stated that over $200m was allocated to sports for the year with a substantial amount of that figure spent on lighting at the Guyana National Stadium, National Gymnasium and the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH) respectively.
Kumar made the disclosure at a press conference held at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport building on Main Street yesterday.
“The NSC received over $200m towards the development of sports in Guyana. Where capital work is concerned, we have the spanking new lights which the minister had promised at the end of 2007 at the CASH, as well as the National Gymnasium and the National Stadium respectively,” Kumar said.
“The money spent on sports in 2008 is substantial and was spent between the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS), the NSC and the Stadium. I am very heartened to say such, along with the fact that we are making a genuine effort to get the Woolford Avenue lawn tennis courts in order,” he added.
Kumar disclosed that the completion of the project had been hampered by the current rainy weather but said they hoped to complete the facility as soon as possible.
And, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport (MCYS) Dr. Frank Anthony yesterday disclosed that the MCYS had arranged for two coaches to work with the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB).
“The MCYS, in collaboration with the NSC, has been paying for the services of two persons to work with the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) over a period of time.
“We finance either in full or part, the salary of these coaches who work along with the respective associations at their request,” he said.
He also stated that the MCYS would like to work closely with the various sports associations towards the development of sports in Guyana.
“Their developmental programmes weigh heavily on our minds and it is with that in mind that we will be working closely with them in the years ahead as we seek to develop sports here in Guyana.
“We cannot go and dictate how football or even cricket should be developed, that is something those respective associations will have to work with us on.
“We have seen that not many of these associations have any clear developmental plans and that is something we have to correct.
Some are little better than others, but I think by and large, we will have to implement and work along with them, a plan on how we can develop the sport,” said Dr Anthony.
He went on: “We are faced with many challenges, but how we organize our work, along with the mobilization of the required personnel and resources to execute the job, is the biggest of them all. But I think by and large, we have been able to do so very well in 2008.”
Dr. Anthony said while most federations are affiliated to international bodies, and are therefore governed by the rules of those bodies, the national associations/federations should register with the NSC and produce audited statements in order to benefit from grants from the NSC.
“Not many of them would do so, but at times when they need an athlete or official to go overseas, they would approach us for grants and many of them are not even in good standing to get grants, which at times leaves the NSC in a difficult position on deciding whether or not they should assist the particular athlete,” he said.
“Many of these associations can access expertise and grants from their parent body, but they have not been doing so. We cannot access the grants for them, as we are the Government and they are not allowing us to access same. We have pointed this out to the associations, but yet still they have not being doing so.”
Dr. Anthony also said that they had met some hiccups with respect to the construction of the swimming pool which is being built on the Railway Embankment in Turkeyen.
“We have encountered some hiccups with regards to the pool. We are not looking at building the 50-metre pool alone, but also a diving pool.
“In a nutshell, it will be an aquatic complex, wherein we had envisaged doing that in various phases.
“However, when the engineers got on the ground and conducted their soil testing, it was advised that we needed to put down piles first. In the first phase, we were looking at putting down piles for the swimming pool, but we now have to drive down piles for everything,” he said.
“By the time we were ready to drive the piles for the diving centre, the foundation for the swimming pool would have been affected, so that’s on a hold at the moment.
“Another factor which has the completion of the pool and the diving centre on hold is the lack of resources. Unless we get these resources, we cannot go forward as we don’t want to start something and have it on hold.”
Dr. Anthony did state however, that the MCYS would be completing the Woolford Avenue lawn tennis courts, which will include seating and sanitary facilities for patrons.
“We are also looking at developing a public squash court, as all of the squash courts in the country are owned by private clubs. So along with the Turkeyen swimming pool, the squash and lawn tennis courts are on our infrastructural agenda for 2009.”
The minister plans an early meeting with the heads of the various sports disciplines as he intended to stamp out irregularities in sports.