Basketball federation awaiting reply from gov’t on funding request for Caribbean championships

Dear Editor,

The Guyana Basketball Federation is at a sweating point not a breaking point. We sent letters on May 7, 2018; seeking funding from the Government by writing letters to Minister Norton of the Ministry of Social Cohesion and Minister Harmon of the Ministry of State for Guyana’s Men and Women to participate in the 2018 Caribbean Basketball Confederation Championships in Suriname from June 15-30.

By some quirk in the structure of the government apparatus; Senior Minister Harmon is the subject Minister of  Minister Norton, among other Minister/s under his domain. In addition, Minister Harmon is de facto the most powerful Minister in Guyana and his decisions can only be counteracted by President Granger; especially since, he is the spokesperson for the President.

We have not received a formal response from the Government, since we hand delivered the letters to the above-mentioned Ministries on May 7th, 2018, with the letters emailed days earlier.

Of course, rumours abound about my writings in the media; causing a backlash against funding for our female team that includes: five high schoolers from President’s College, one from MacKenzie High School, two from St. Rose’s, one from Bishops’, one from the Guyana Police Force, one from Marian Academy, one from the Guyana School of Agriculture, two from Kwakwani under the age of twenty-three, among others.

Most of the players from the Men’s Squad have completed High School; six are from Region 10; one from Region 6, and ten from Region 4 – all are Guyanese born. Aside from the great honour to play for Guyana, it is a great psychological boost and an impressive achievement to represent your country, as many of us know.

Where is the common-sense juxtaposition for my writings in the media and the failure to action letters requesting funding for National Teams to represent Guyana at Regional Championships? For that matter where is the logic in this protracted delay? Over $150,000 in costs are incurred daily, just too keep the basketball squads in training. The Guyana Basketball Federation is owed $4.3 Million since 2016 by the National Sports Commission (NSC); during the hosting of the U16 Caribbean Championships in Guyana we expended more than $7.8 Million on structural improvements to the Sports Hall, which the NSC Chairman and other Commissioners promised to reimburse promptly; so far only $3.5 Million has been repaid.

My fervent wish for our country is that leadership from the green and red parties be forward- looking and disavow our decades-long political culture that has been filled too often with callous vendetta and spite.

It is crass nonsense to link the expressing of my opinion in the media on matters such as my rejection of the Production Sharing Agreement between Esso, et alia & the Government of Guyana and the overt support of this administration for an illegal and unconscionable contract, and the covert and discretionary silence of the opposition and the Private Sector at it relates to seeking remedies against Esso & its minority partners.

The Corporate Community has been supportive to sports in Guyana, but the culture and systems are not in place for organized funding. The level of funding required for sports in schools, clubs and at the National level is just not sufficient from the corporate community, while we acknowledge some in the business community are supportive. Most of the funding must come from Government and budgetary provisions for such funding has to be increased ten-fold at a minimum, to avoid this malaise from continuing degrading of youth and sport.

We have a Lotto Fund that is used in a most mysterious, curious and arbitrary fashion; though monies in the Lotto fund are supposed to be for community development and sports; this is the exception rather than the norm. The hundreds of millions that pass through the Guyana Lotto fund can well allow for significant allocations to our lead Sport Federations and Associations, as is done in Barbados and other countries.

I recall, as if it happened yesterday, when we were informed by our National Coach, Mr. Hewley Henry at St. Stanislaus Basketball Court that President Forbes Burnham died. The date was August 6, 1985; the Coach asked that we stop the training session and have a minute silence in a show of respect on the passing of our President. Hewley Henry was a staunch WPA supporter at the time; and his show of cohesion and solidarity that involved all the players in the silent prayer still motivates.

“The only wealth which you will keep forever is the wealth you have given away.” Marcus Aurelius.

Yours faithfully,

Nigel Hinds

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