Prime Minister Perry Christie
January 12, 2017
In past, for the two previous International Association of Athletic Federation’s World Relays, the Government of The Bahamas had the Local Organization Committee mobilized and early preparations were visible.
We are right upon the mid-way point in the first month of the year and nothing has been said about the planning for the third IAAF World Relays, scheduled in this country April 22-23.
A lot of preparation was done in advance to the inaugural 2014 IAAF World Relays and the second version in 2015, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. The Government of The Bahamas shelled out some $15 million dollars to cover the cost of the 2014 event. Of course the majority of the total went towards bringing the national stadium up to international standard.
Both the event on 2014 and 2015 were grand and contributed immensely to the glowing reputation The Bahamas now has as a major sports host nation. It looks like there are some interesting factors in play at this time however, that could cause our reputation to take a big hit.
The Government is hard pressed for funding. The Treasury is challenged to find funds to send through to the banking process to cover salaries each month for civil servants. Tackling the National Health Insurance project figures to be quite costly for the government, especially if it is to be rolled out before the general elections, which should come around May of this year.
The nation has not been afforded a report yet regarding the Restoration program in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
Indeed, the government of the day is in a tight spot financially.
In this column just following the passing of Hurricane Matthew, the view was expressed that Bahamians would be receptive to the national sports hosting schedule being diluted. That was the ideal time for the government to face up to reality and contact the various international representatives of the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, the Commonwealth Youth Games and the IAAF regarding cost-cutting adjustments to the events, postponement or cancellation.
Interestingly enough, PM Christie indicated that the sports hosting commitments would be fulfilled.
Well, PM Christie should know how he is going to come up with the projected $21 million dollars needed to cover the government’s promises to the international parties.
So far though, his government is awfully quiet on the up front seed funding promised for the events.
In the case of the scheduled World Relays, I understand that the Local Organizing Committee that coordinated the first two events has not yet been activated. A different Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations (BAAA) administration is now in place and the LOC appointments for the World Relays are being revisited. This is proving to be a huge challenge for the Christie Government.
Meanwhile, time is of the essence. If the hosting performances for the World Relays and the other scheduled mega international events are to be ultimately viewed, as up to our standard, meaningful preparation efforts must be made, rather immediately.
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