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Minister Rolle calls for more investment in sporting sector

Minister Rolle calls for more investment in sporting sector

LANISHA ROLLE Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture

Sports  June 15, 2020 

 FN Sports Reporter

Shayne Stubbs

During the Government’s Budget Communication in the House of Assembly, last week, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture (MYSC) Lanisha Rolle advocated for a greater investment in Bahamian athletes. 

The Minister offered her full support of the 2020-2021 budget on Thursday, June 11. The sports ministry was one of the areas that was affected in the budget allocation with a $5 million reduction, which was expected as a result of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

However, Rolle stated that the sports sector of the Ministry is estimated to receive one of the highest portions of the funds now allocated, $18,938,186.00 for the MYSC, at 14.99 percent, compared to Culture (9.65 percent) and Youth (8.01 percent), with the remaining funds to assist with the Ministry’s general programs (including summer programs), personal emoluments, and operational expenses. 

Rolle expressed that there is a growing need for sports to receive much more attention. She also shared thoughts that the community is losing too many young persons to gangs and criminal activity.

Harkening to the continued call for a sports academy, an project started by the previous administration, Rolle said that the academy would be of great use to combat the loss of young people to a life of crime. 

“The Division of Sports has the responsibility to influence and facilitate the development of sports throughout the country, whether it be professional sport, recreational, educational or organized sports. Team sports and individual sports all work together to build a well-rounded citizen and citizenry. 

“But Mr. Speaker, I will be the first to admit that the sector requires more investment and room to grow. There has long been advocacy for a Sports Academy to give aspiring national, regional and international world class athletes the opportunity to build their skills and techniques in a strategic environment, that simultaneously accommodates their academic learning. 

“We continue to build the same kinds of schools in hopes of obtaining different results. I trust that sooner rather than later we will realize the benefit in diversified learning, even as we require the building of a diversified economy and skill base. 

“Bahamians possess raw talent in the area of sports and if nurtured we can produce more Bahamians who add value to our Tourism product and international reputation. In the absence of such environments with a growing population in a small space, I believe it will become harder and harder to build national teams such as our well known Golden Girls (who celebrate their 20th Year Anniversary this year) and more challenging to build another Golden Knight team as we are losing our boys too quickly to drugs, gangs and violence.

“The National Sports Academy will harness the development of multiple sporting disciplines. The Academy would not merely be facilitating but regenerating,” she said

In the face of everything that has transpired, Rolle gave acknowledgement to her sports ministry for the job done to elevate sports in the country.

“The Department of Sports is deficient in its pool of human resources. Nonetheless, the sports team led by Director Timothy Munnings continues to carry the weight of sports, and they do a phenomenal job. The department ensures not only that we execute our mandate to facilitate the development of sports, but directly coordinate annual Reward Programs designed to give national recognition to the hard work and outstanding accomplishments of our athletes, former athletes, professional organizations during the National Sports Awards and Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, respectively,” she further stated.

Rolle also acknowledged athletes such as Grand Bahamian Nathan Bain, whose buzzer beater against Duke University helped his GoFundMe page gain huge traction post Hurricane Dorian; Chavano “Buddy” Hield, who won the National Basketball Association (NBA) Three-Point Competition this season and who hosts his annual basketball camps; and track standouts Steven Gardiner and Shaunae Miller-Uibo for their success and generosity in giving back to Bahamian communities. 

“Buddy, Nathan, Shaunae, Steven are all testaments to the fact that the money will come if we invest in the people, and this budget and this government has been and will continue to do just that.” 

In closing her remarks, Rolle shared that until the country is clear of the state of emergency no sporting activity should be conducted without proper guidelines. 

“In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture has prepared a list of COVID-19 Guidelines for the benefit of Youth Organizations, Sports Federations and Organizations and Cultural Artists and related entities that may choose to conduct independent programs. 

“For the record we emphasize that until we are clear of this State of Emergency particular contact sports and related facilities should not be conducted or opened in the absence of health guidance. The official Guidance Document will be available from Monday, June 15, 2020 and can be viewed via the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture on the Government’s Website or the Ministry’s Facebook page.”

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