Whenever one thinks of Bartica, the thought of boat races and the annual Regatta quickly comes to mind.
However, Mayor Gifford Marshall’s aim is to transform the Region 7 town into a hub for many disciplines.
Following the successful, historic cycling event on Saturday, Marshall sees potential for sports leading the town’s tourism package.
“All disciplines we are talking about here,” Marshall told this publication on Saturday.
He added “Some persons in the township believe that they can only enjoy themselves with a bottle and a big box booming but the leaders of this community believe that through clean entertainment like sports, we can make a difference and you would have seen the support from the members of the community today.”
Marshall continued “We will continue to lobby Central Government and we will have an active, beautiful circuit in the township going through the hills, not only cycling but also we will have other sports happening within the township and I tell you what, we are looking good for the next five years.”
He also disclosed that… “Our agenda is to build the capacity of our people, we believe as a municipality that we need to invest especially in our young people even as we invest in our infrastructure because if you have the infrastructure but you don’t have the young people with the capacity in whatever discipline to effectively utilize it, it makes no sense.
Investment in young people is close to our hearts. Sports is just one aspect. Our whole vision is building the capacity of the young people and during the next 10 years, we should have the community where we want it to be.”
Marshall pointed out that the business community have been showing its support to sports.
“The support has been excellent. We put up some cash prizes, it was a bit high and we had some concerns since cycling is new to the community but the business community came onboard and we had a successful event. It’s a work in progress and a step in the right direction.”
Quizzed on the April 19-22 Regatta, Marshall said that plans are in the pipeline to “put more meaning to it”.
“For the Regatta, we want to put more meaning to it, we don’t just want it to be an event where persons come and it’s about drinking and being in the clubs, so beginning this year we will work on Sunday’s event and we will see many more boats participating and many more water sports.
Leading up to the Regatta also, we will have many more sporting disciplines participating to improve the entire structure of the Regatta. So yes, we will continue with football and cricket. We have gymkhana this year and we will continue to invest in the grass track event which has become a spectacle and many more activities to make it more competitive and a truly national and international event,” Marshall concluded. (Emmerson Campbell)