Minister within the Ministry of Education Nicolette Henry said the Government of Guyana is committed to collaborating with Guyana-born Alex Bunbury to establish the Alex Bunbury Sports and Academics Academy (ABSAA).
Addressing a gathering of representatives from the respective sporting fraternities at the National Racquet Centre, Woolford Avenue during a forum staged by Bunbury, Henry said: “My presence here tonight signals the government’s intention to support and partner the project, noting it is important to the growth and development of the young people.”
Attending the meeting were representatives from several sporting bodies inclusive of Rugby, Football, Boxing, Futsal and Netball.
She declared that the reason the government is supportive of the initiative was because it caters for all sporting disciplines.
“Sports need to develop more. Too often it has been undervalued and not enough emphasis has been placed on it and the time has come that we use it as a tool for development.
“We will be pleased to have a facility that caters for many disciplines. That being said, it is a part of the government’s programme for the development of sports and youth,” Henry added.
Quizzed on the scope of the government’s intended involvement in the project, the minister said that while the partnership is presently in the infancy stage and that the areas of support have not been determined, government will support the project as far as possible.
Asked about the sustainability of the project, she said that several models can be utilised to make the venture sustainable, noting due to the nation’s status as a developing country, funding opportunities will be available through various international avenues along with corporate and government support.
Director of Sports, Christopher Jones, echoed the sentiments of Minister Henry, stating that the National Sports Commission was excited about the project and once the government comes on board, the entity will follow suit as it is an initiative that can change the sporting landscape.
Also making remarks was GFF President Wayne Forde who said the body is committed to assisting in the realization of the project, pointing out that the entire sporting fraternity will benefit from the initiative.
He also stated that the project will curb the constant issue faced by the local sporting bodies which is the year-round loss of talent.
Meanwhile, Bunbury, during brief remarks said:“The project is about Guyana, we want to integrate several aspects of life, we want it to grow into something special and be the envy of the region. We are not totally there, we are almost there, it’s not my dream, and it’s the dream of all Guyanese”.
Terrence Poole, Guyana Boxing Association representative praised the initiative, stating that all associations should support the project in order to make it a reality.
Also University of Guyana (UG) Sports Director Lavern Fraser-Thomas said the facility must cater for the creation of the student athlete mentality, noting that the facility will cater for two pivotal areas which is sport and education.