-GABF, not YBG, should be in charge of IGG basketball
It is a widespread view that the role or the responsibility of governments is to create a national framework for sports aimed at promoting physical activity within the schools and the communities and to organise national sporting events.
Governments should not be involved in the day-to-day administration of sports associations/federations although they are often required to intervene when there is a scandal of some sort such as the misappropriation of funds and where the solution of disputes require the setting up of legal committees.
Participation in sport contributes to the well-being of the citizens of a country and in some cases, helps to unite the people who often rally behind an outstanding sports figure.
So it is important that governments provide the infrastructure for its citizens to participate in sport for recreation as well as competition purposes and in this regard, the present government has made tremendous strides in this direction. The Providence National Stadium, the swimming pool at Liliendaal, the National Squash Racquet Centre and the soon to be completed Synthetic Track are all facilities which should lead to improved performances by the nation’s top athletes in the not too distant future. There are times, however, when the government should be careful about their involvement in the affairs of sports associations/federations as the present situation with the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) can attest.
The failure of the government to have the officials of the GCB step aside following the establishment of the Interim Management Committee set up by the Minister Responsible for Sport Dr. Frank Anthony, in the wake of the Court challenge to the legality of the GCB elections of a few years back and the support the GCB officials received from the West Indies Cricket Board, the GCB’s parent body, ought to be lessons telling the government to thread warily when dealing with matters which impinge upon the constitutions of the various associations/federations.
That situation is still to end in a manner satisfactory to all but now the National Sports Commission (NSC) seems to have found itself involved in another minor controversy involving the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GBAF) and Youth Basketball Guyana (YBG).
Youth Basketball Guyana, according to its website, is a non-profit organization formed with the intention of helping to promote basketball among the youths of Guyana.
Its mission, it says, is two-fold one, to build a structure for youth basketball by establishing links between grassroots and youth/school involvement and two, to provide greater opportunities for young basketball players by promoting the value of education through the formation of well-rounded student athletes. Since its formation, YBG has been instrumental in promoting basketball at the school level which led somehow to it becoming the body used by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport to be responsible for the preparation of the male and female basketball teams for the annual Inter Guiana Games (IGG). How this came about is not clear but there is a view that this all began after Secretary of the Alliance for Change (AFC) David Patterson replaced the late Godwin Mc Pherson as president of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF). So while all the other associations/federations involved in the IGG namely football, track and field and swimming were/are responsible for the preparation of the teams of their respective disciplines, this was/is not so with basketball. Earlier this year though, a new development occurred. Patterson was replaced as president of the GABF by former national basketball and hockey player, Nigel Hinds. who immediately began the process of moving basketball forward.
However, those in charge of the IGG operations apparently want the present status quo with the preparation of the IGG basketball team to remain the same maybe because the National Sports Commission is an official partner of the YBG.
They wrote the GABF requesting that YBG continue the trend of preparing the IGG basketball teams.
“The Youth Basketball Guyana has been in partnership with the National Sports Commission over the many years and has accepted the responsibility of organizing and coordinating the basketball aspect of the game during those years,” the letter from the NSC stated.
“As a consequence, the National Sports Commission wishes to respectfully inform you of this development and seeks to encourage the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation to give the Youth Basketball Guyana the necessary support, as regard preparation and officiating before and during the games,” the letter added. Not surprisingly, the GABF responded by telling the NSC that they found the request from the commission to be “Wholly unacceptable,” and one which… “will likely be injurious to the development of basketball in Guyana.”The GABF in its response pointed out to the NSC that (like Suriname and French Guiana) was an affiliate of the world governing body for basketball FIBA, whose mandates and principles apply to all of the 213 national member federations worldwide and that it was the sole governing body for the development of basketball in Guyana.
It also pointed out that it has the capacity to organise and manage the IGG fact which should be patently obvious to the NSC.
“The Youth Basketball Guyana (YBG) is not a member of GABF, thus GABF will not delegate the organising and coordination of a major event such as the Inter Guiana Games (IGG) to a non-member,” the GABF stated in its 18-point response.
Now the YBG should be congratulated for its efforts to promote the development of basketball especially within the schools but it must recognise that the GABF is the sole body responsible for the promotion and development of basketball in Guyana and as such regardless of the circumstances and the fact that they have been preparing the IGG basketball teams over the years, it is now time to step aside and allow the proper body to do what its officials were elected to do.
At the same time, the NSC must realize that there is now a competent national association/federation for basketball, duly and properly elected, and that it must be treated fairly and with respect, similar to the treatment meted out to all the other associations/federations involved in the IGG.
Anything else would be tantamount to discrimination which would be simply unacceptable, even for the government.