Eric Leon Pompey, father of Commonwealth Games gold medalist Aliann Pompey, yesterday made it clear that his daughter did not return to Guyana to seek any assistance but if any is offered they will accept. The elder Pompey was replying to suggestions at a Guyana Olympic Association press conference yesterday that his daughter is in need of financial assistance to complete her masters degree in financing while at the same time furthering her athletic career.
"We are here as guests of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. It's not really to primarily seek any financial help or anything of the sort on behalf of Aliann," Mr. Pompey stated, adding..."the only thing people abroad know about Guyana, has to do with Jim Jones, which is a negative connotation, so to be able to do something that is going to put Guyana in a positive light on the world scene, is a real privilege, and I know for a fact that Aliann is very appreciative of that."
The older Pompey however said "if the government of Guyana or any other sporting organisation sees it fit to help us in any way, that would be appreciated, but I don't think there has been any request by Aliann and I don't want it to be misunderstood that she's here seeking help, if it comes it will be appreciated, but I know her personality, knowing her for 24 years, that she's going to impose on any one with any request for help, if it comes it will be appreciated.
Pompey pointed out that he knows Guyana is not a wealthy country, stating... "as citizens, we owe an obligation to our country, so when we do something, we shouldn't look for something in return, the very fact that you might do something for Guyana or from which Guyana can get a positive name, is really something that we are grateful for."
He added: "I'm just concerned that the way it might be reported, it may look as though she is out here looking for something, but this is not so, this is really to say thank you to all the persons who have had something to do with organising this visit."
Prior to Pompey's statements, another section of the media asked Aliann if she had made a request to the government for assistance, but GOA's president K. Juman Yassin intervened.
"Don't let's put Aliann in a spot, there was a request sometime last year and that request was not granted. I'm hoping with the gold around her neck, that a fast thought would be had on the subject, and that some concrete assistance could be given to Aliann," he said.
Yassin did not state who made the request, and when pressed further, said "there was a request for assistance for her in helping with regards to her training, but I don't want to come out in defence of anybody, because I've always been pushing for more for sports, but perhaps because Guyana has not been winning in the past, perhaps because we have been participating and not winning, it was felt, maybe by those that look as though it's a waste of time. But all that has changed, we have a young lady with great potential."