Youth Basketball Guyana has been running school festival since 2006 for the purposes of IGG games, this will continue until GABF better prepared

Dear Editor,

I wish to respond to an article entitled `Simply Unacceptable!’ published in the Stabroek News of Wednesday, May 14, 2014.

While it is not my intention to delve into your entire lengthy article, it is imperative and necessary that I make the following observations.

It must be accepted that over the years until 2014 basketball in Guyana was at its lowest ebb and no one must ever attempt to doubt or argue that. Nothing was done for the development of basketball by the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF). Repeated discussions/meetings were held with the then Presidents, the late Godwin McPherson and David Patterson and their officials to encourage the bringing back of basketball to its glorious days of the past. Somehow, the initiative and drive were not evident.

Something had to be done to rescue the rapid decline of basketball, especially at the youth and school level. Youth Basketball Guyana must be applauded for successfully taking on that responsibility which indeed is one of the mandates of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation.

The Inter Guiana Games are International sports competitions among students of 19 years and under who must be attending school or an educational institution. The Games are officially held among French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana.

The IGG comprises eight and not seven disciplines as is mentioned. Chess is an official discipline of the Inter Guiana Games.

All national associations/federations are always invited to the first meeting of the IGG for, among other things, the establishing of the IGG committee for the year (two legs of the game).

The organizing committee of the IGG co-ordinates and manages the process of the IGG guided by a Protocol of Agreement of General Rules and Regulations for the organising of the IGG. Unless the Protocol of the IGG is read, studied and understood, then the position taken by the GABF will not be avoided.

Both the late Mr Mc Pherson and immediate past president Mr. David Patterson recognized and accepted that the GABF at the time hadn’t the capacity to organize and prepare the IGG teams. The YGB was brought onboard and was accepted by both gentlemen as they served in office.

Again it is dishonest and unfair for it to be publically said that GABF is the only national body not invited to participate. Where ever a National Association/Federation is unable to prepare teams, alternative measures are put in place to ensure, in the interest of IGG, Guyana participates in the respective discipline(s). If GABF and Sports Scope had taken the time to do proper investigations, then it would have been revealed that GABF is not the only Association/ Federation not preparing teams for the IGG.

In a letter under the pen of Mr. Nigel Hinds, President of the GABF addressed to the Director of Sport, dated May 09, 2014, he stated reasons for its disapproval and objection to the involvement of the YBG as it relates to the preparation of the IGG Basketball teams.

I must state accordingly:

Reason 2

The NSC is very happy to learn of the GABF’s capacity to organise and manage the IGG.

Reason 12

The YBG over the long years have enjoyed overwhelming support and sponsorship from many large corporate entities. 2014 was even more encouraging.

While Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation is so discredited that sponsors do not want to support them because they are not accountable and transparent as their history would confirm.

Reason 14

The National Associations/ Federations are aware that they are responsible for the preparation of their IGG teams. Never does the NSC totally provide funding for such preparations. The NSC assists where and when it is necessary.

Reason 16

Funds are never budgeted for individual sports of the IGG. Actually an IGG budget is prepared for approval under the following heads.

Accommodation

Transportation

Refreshment and meals

Field Materials and Supplies

Other Administrative Changes

The NSC has never, and has no intention of being disrespectful to the National Associations/Federations including GABF. Rather it is the function of the NSC to promote sports and its organization by all available methods.

The NSC is willing to sit and discuss with the GABF and YBG the issue of the future of the IGG Basketball.

I wish at this point to clearly state that the GABF cannot dictate for the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport/National Sports Commission (MCYS/NSC).

I wish also to state the following:

The MCYS/NSC has not given the GABF any such mandate for the IGG basketball teams.

We have asked the GABF to provide referees and officials and give support to an already established process.

The Games are coordinated and managed by the IGG Committee.

The NSC decides on the process it uses for each discipline.

The National Sports Commission and Youth Basketball Guyana-National School Basketball Festival (NSBF) now in its ninth year, has been the process since 2006, used for basketball. This process was accepted by both the Mc Pherson and Patterson administrations.

There is no other system in place at the school levels that provides such an expansive and extensive platform for our students to participate in basketball.

The NSBF provides a fair and open process for all eligible student basketball players.

It is a proven and tested process.

Case in point: Guyana females are IGG defending champions.

The NSC condemns this imposition by the GABF of randomly hand picking players who may not be eligible according to the IGG protocol on the grounds of age and/or academic status of students. We further think that this approach is counter-productive to developing a strong foundation for student participation at the school’s level and would prove destructive in the long term.

If the GABF is serious about our students’ development, it will first develop a system to foster such development at the schools level. Until then the current process will remain in place.

The NSC will continue to work with all National Sports Associations/Federations for further development in sport. However, we highly appreciate the efforts of Civil Society, Organisations and persons who are making genuine efforts to help in the process of development.

The NSC looks forward to continue working with all and sundry for peace, unity and the realization of our athletes’ full potential.

 Yours faithfully,

Neil Kumar

Director of Sport

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