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The failure of the Minister of Culture Youth and Sports continues to reign Supreme with incompetence. No amount of picture moments can change this fact.
It is important for him to know and appreciate that sports play a critical role in the personal and social development of individuals, especially our youths. It provides a platform for them to showcase their talents and learn important life skills such as teamwork, discipline, determination, and leadership, and it foster social cohesion “One Guyana” and community spirit. Furthermore, sports have the potential to drive economic growth and development.
The question remains: What is the minister doing with the hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money his ministry received?
The recent fine by Concacaf to the Guyana Football Federation on the 12th of September 2023 for the hosting of Guyana verses Bahamas at the National Track and Field centre due to the venue’s playing surface failing to meet the basic minimum required standard, the very basic standard for international matches, reaffirms the question. Where is the evidence of all this money?
This failure of the ministry to maintain this facility ultimately means that the lady jags, Guyana women’s football team will lose the home game advantage of playing at home in the women’s gold cup qualifier which will now have to be played in little Barbados.
What is interesting to note is that this said venue is supposed to host the country’s national schools track and field championship several weeks from now.
Additionally, what is equally disappointing is that the community of Linden and Region 10, which has produced some of the best athletes in Guyana and the Caribbean.
A community known for many things, especially for its rich sporting culture.
In fact, I have said it so often that Linden has earned the reputation of being the talent basket, the epicenter of talent for Guyana.
According to recent statistics, athletes from Linden have won numerious international medals in various sporting disciplines such as track and field, swimming, boxing, and cycling, to name a few.
Despite the significant contributions of Linden to the sporting landscape of Guyana, it is disheartening to note that the community lacks appropriate facilities and infrastructure to support the development of its athletes, despite the combined billions provided for in the national budgets year after year, much more under the present regime due to significant oil resources.
The lack of sporting facilities and infrastructure is particularly troubling given that schools across Guyana are preparing for the peak season of track and field events to represent their respective districts around the country.
In this regard, it is worth noting that Upper Demerara Upper Berbice Region, District Ten, which has won the most national inter school championships in the country’s history and is the present reigning national champ, Unfortunately, the township and region presently lacks suitable facilities to train and host its local inter-school competition.
It is no secret that the community’s premiere venue, the MacKenzie Sports Club, is under construction, and it is most needed . As a community, we welcome the development.
The most suitable alternative venue, the Bayroc community ground, has also been under construction since 2018 with the building of the synthetic track and a mini pavilion. This is probably the second longest unfinished project after the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
The lack of suitable facilities in Linden and District ten for sporting activities is not only a hindrance to the development of sporting talents in the community but is also a source of great embarrassment.
The Minister of Sports had recently requested half of a billion dollars more for the continuation of ground enhancement, which he admitted in the house to be his “flagship project” for the Ministry. It is, however, disappointing to see such a request being made when communities like Linden, which have a rich sporting culture, lack appropriate facilities, much less upgraded grounds.
The minister during the local government election politicking said the synthetic track would be handed over to the community for usage. Several months later, the community’s athletes are still waiting.
The present site and state of the venue, just like the National Track and Field Center, leave much to be desired.
School sports are expected to begin in weeks’ time and no suitable venue for the reigning champions to train or host their sports.
With the teachers we have, I am confident that they will figure something out for their students because they definitely can depend on the Ministry and certainly not the visionless minister of Culture Youth and Sports.
Having a futuristic plan would have made arrangements for this and similar situations that are frequent throughout the country.
We need to do better as a country with respect to who is charged with the responsibility to manage the affairs of key sectors, especially those that have a direct impact on our youths, our future.
Hon. Jermaine Figueira.MP
Shadow Minister of Culture Youth and Sports