January 13, 2017
The National Sports Authority (NSA), from the very beginning, was never able to forge a good relationship with the rest of the fraternity. The Sports
Authority Bill of 2010, gave birth to the NSA and its been a rocky road ever since.
There have been occasions when it appeared that a battle was going on between the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture and the NSA. The Sports Authority Act clearly spells out the top authority jurisdiction of the Government Minister with responsibility for sports. Presently that is Dr. Daniel Johnson.
In essence, no matter who the NSA Chairman or his/her executive assistants are, the sports minister is really the boss.
I have often wondered whether NSA personnel understood the sections of the ACT that spell out the control areas of the sports minister. There has indeed been an impasse at different times between the NSA and the Sports Minister’s Office.
Sports Federations have had their issues with the NSA. Several years ago, wholesale criticism caused the NSA to abandon its price scale for use of government sports facilities. Some of the fees were ridiculous, particularly for those sports disciplines that were not drawing a lot of spectators and could not get big sponsors.
Now, the athletes are raising hell.
Bernard Newbold, one of the new era track and field enthusiasts and an aspiring sports administrator was quite blunt in a communication to me.
“The National Sports Authority is not local friendly to our athletes, but yet when visiting athletes arrive in The Bahamas, the red carpet treatment is rolled out for them. If the athletes or clubs have to pay a fee to use the facilities, the NSA needs to put it in writing with affordable numbers that everyone can agree on, whereby the lights are on and there is the availability of (field) equipment.
“We say we want our athletes to train at home, but when they decide to do so, they are being locked out of the facilities and having to do the best they can. In the end, they leave The Bahamas and go to the USA to train,” lamented Newbold.
That is a big time indictment against the NSA.
Newbold suggests that a meeting takes place with representatives from the Ministry of Sports, the NSA and coaches. Certainly Minister of Youth Sports and Culture Dr. Johnson should take the matter in hand. The Act does indeed mandate that he take a hands-on approach when troublesome issues arise with the NSA.
Dr. Johnson has opted to take a break from frontline politics. So, even if the governing Progressive Liberal Party is successful on general elections day, later this year, Dr. Johnson will not be around for much longer. Therefore, he should move on this NSA situation immediately.
Bringing about a smooth working relationship between the NSA and the sports fraternity could add to Dr. Johnson’s sports administrative legacy.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org).