Basketball going nowhere

Stabroek News
July 5, 2001

Dear Editor,

What is really going on in Georgetown concerning basketball?

It has been almost five years since a first division league has been completed. Basketball has been on the decline since the beginning of the 1990s and nothing done to try and revamp this important sport that is being played by 75% of our youths especially in our depressed areas.

I remember playing basketball in the '80s when there was a first division league, knockout first division competitions, a second division league, a second division knockout, a third division league and about two to three third division knockout competitions a year.

Now we probably get one third division competition a year and there is a lot of pressure just to get funds to pull it off.

I know times have been rough in the terms of finance, but we need to have vibrant and committed personnel who have the game at heart to start getting things rolling.

A lot of sacrifices were made personally by players to get basketball competitive with our main disciplines cricket and football.

It's sad to see this sport being taken away from our youths. For the past 5 years Guyana has been doing well in the men's category at the Caricom championships. We need to build from there, we need to get basketball programmes introduced in the schools once more even in the urban communities. This will take a lot of funding. That's where sponsorship has to come in.

We need to apply to the Sports Commission for a start and to our business community and let them know we are serious. That's why we need vibrant and honest persons in certain positions.

I noticed some 69 million dollars would be allocated to sports by Government. But no mention was made about basketball. We need some of that 69 million and it is time Mr Kumar and company help.

We need a President that will be able to have influence with the private sector and the business community, someone like Beni Sankar who is heading table tennis.

We need to appeal to everyone, who has gone abroad and was involved in basketball to give something back. I have noticed through the media, that Linden still run some competitions but there is nothing going on in Berbice. We use to have an inter sub association every year and a champion of champions series, now nothing is happening.

Our federation headed by Mr Godwin McPherson seems to be only interested when the Caricom Championships are to get underway.

They will keep a series involving Georgetown and Linden and a team selected with some foreigners from DC Jammers to represent Guyana.

But that is not enough, we need the federation, and all the sub associations to come together and start revamping basketball in our society. And to our private sector and business community, please help this sport just as you helped squash, hockey, cricket, badminton, etc. We can start our healing process right here.

I am appealing to our basketball association members, Mr David Patterson, Mr Eon Andrews, etc please get the ball rolling.

Finally, we need to start having seminars for our referees because they are not au fait with the game at all. Too many mistakes are being made.

We need to have our more establish referees like Mr Peters, Mr Prince, Mr Panday, Mr Gittens and Mr Omrow to guide the young ones that are coming up.

Yours faithfully,
Gary Bowman