Government allocates $69m for sports
- Kumar to seek more funding from Poverty Alleviation, Youth Choice, Lotto

By Donald Duff
Stabroek News
July 3, 2001

The Guyana Government has allocated some 69 million dollars for sports in this year's budget and Director of Sport Neil Kumar is pleased with the figure which he said represents an increase of 10 million dollars from last year.

"We are very happy with the sum allocated," Kumar told Stabroek Sport.

The Director said that the sum of $60m will be used for current expenditure and the remaining $9m for capital expenditure.

Kumar explained that capital expenditure involves the running off of programmes for his department and paying salaries while the rest of the money will be used for maintaining facilities.

Some of the facilities which comes under the jurisdiction of the Department of Sport include the Cliff Anderson Sports hall and the National Gymnasium.

Access Funds
But there is a strong possibility that sports will be able to benefit from more funds from at least three other avenues.

Kumar disclosed that he will be working to access funds from the Poverty Alleviation Fund, the Youth Choice Programme and from the Lotto Commission.

The Poverty Alleviation Fund, Kumar explained, is set up for the running off of programmes in the depressed and rural communities, adding that he will try to access Lotto funds for community and sports development.

Department's programmes
The Director of Sport said he was especially pleased with some of his department's programmes which impacted greatly on schools and the communities.

"As Director of Sport tremendous help comes from the school and community and for that I am very pleased," he said.

He pointed out that the Coca-Cola football tournament, the secondary Schools cricket competition, karate tournaments, table tennis competitions, windball and volleyball tournaments:" are just some of the programmes run by the Department that I am pleased with," he said, adding that now there is a lot more participation in sport at all the various levels.

Kumar explained that the increased participation was a direct result of government's policy in using funds from lotto, Youth Choice and the Poverty Alleviation programmes.

The government, he said. will use sports to fight, drugs, crimes and HIV/Aids.

"We intend to use sports to get the message across in the fight against these scourges of society," he said.

Kumar also paid kudos to Minister of Education Henry Jeffrey.

"I must applaud Minister of Education Henry Jeffrey for his obvious concern over the all round development of students," the Director of Sport said.

So far, Kumar said, The Department of Sport is continuing with its tradition of assisting sports associations with funding for overseas tours.

So far Kumar said they have given $500,000 to weightlifting, one million dollars to female cricketers and some assistance to boxing for the Caribbean championships.

Guyana missed last year's Caribbean boxing championships due to finance but won this year's tournament in Barbados.

Squash, karate and several other associations have also benefited from financial assistance, said Kumar.