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As an avid sports fan and someone who is passionate about youth and sports development, I am deeply concerned by the lack of progress in sports development in Guyana despite the allocation of over $3 billion in funding last year. It is unacceptable that there has been a lack of transparency in the use of these funds, and it is clear that a more strategic approach is needed in order to see a real impact on sports development in our country.
In light of the upcoming budget, which is set to be read on Monday 16th Jan 2023, The government must prioritize Sports and not only allocate sufficient resources to support the growth and development of a range of disciplines; but implement strategic approaches so that these funds be used effectively and efficiently so that it can have a meaningful impact on sports development in Guyana.
I must express my lack of confidence in the Minister of Culture Youth and Sports, Charles Ramson Jr. Over the past two years, we have seen little progress in sports development in our country. I have called on the Minister to show the Guyanese people where the billions allocated to sports have been
spent those calls have gone unanswered. What is clear is that the current approach is not working.
When Minister Ramson Jr. was appointed to his role in 2020, there was a sense of optimism and hope that he would bring fresh ideas and energy to the sports industry. As a youthful minister, it was hoped that he would be able to relate to athletes on their level and understand the challenges and opportunities facing the sports industry in Guyana. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. Despite huge allocation in funding for sports last year, we have seen little progress in the growth and development of sports in our country; along with the lack of transparency in the use of these funds, Guyanese have been left to wonder what it was spent on and what impact they have had.
We need a strategic and well-thought-out approach to sports development that considers the needs and aspirations of athletes and sports enthusiasts, and that is transparent and accountable in the use of funding. It is clear that Minister Ramson Jr. has failed to deliver on these fronts
No Need to reinvent the wheel
As we sit and watch the Olympics or the World Cup one thing is clear many poor and developing countries have figured out the formula for building a strong and competitive sports landscape: Guyana has to draw on the successes and experiences of our sister countries in the Caribbean and even further afield and craft a new approach to our sports development.
Whether it’s the “Talent Identification and Development” program in Australia, or the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) in Jamaica which was established in 1974 to promote and develop sports in Jamaica. The SDF provides funding and support for a wide range of sports programs and initiatives, including talent identification and development, infrastructure development, and sports research. They are many sports development success stories around the world for us to call on but for two years this government has sat and not moved to add anything to the existing sports policy or even tried anything new and it is because of that lack of vision our athletes continue to languish and suffer.
The government of Guyana must take a more strategic approach to sports development in order to address the failures and disappointments of the past and to realize the significant potential benefits of sports on both an individual and societal level.
I am confident that if we implement tried and proven strategic initiatives from around the world, the billions that will be allocated for sports development will have a more meaningful impact on the growth and development of sports in Guyana. So as we get ready to hear what will be another mammoth budget, I urge the government to take these and other necessary steps in order to foster a strong and vibrant sports culture in our country.
Yours in National Development
Randolph J. Critchlow
Regional Councillor RDC #4