GOA head issues another call for land allocation
...confident of monetary assistance for stadium
By Michael DaSilva
Stabroek News
December 24, 2002

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Guyana Olympic Association’s (GOA) president, Juman Yassin has issued yet another call for Government to allocate land for the construction of a stadium.

Speaking at a GOA press conference last week, Yassin said he hopes the authorities will make a tangible contribution to facilities in the new year.

“I’m not asking for millions (dollars), I know we have a lot of land that could be allocated, and once land is earmarked, the private sector will come forward and make contributions” Yassin stated, adding “I know for a fact also, that overseas Guyanese will also come forward and contribute”.

The press conference was called by the GOA to allow managers of teams that participated at the recently concluded Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, to report on their team’s performance.

Just under three years ago, while addressing sportsmen and women, sports administrators, and special invitees, which included President Bharrat Jagdeo, at a GOA Appreciation Dinner at the Georgetown Club, Yassin had said many CARICOM countries were more advanced than Guyana in terms of sports development.

He had pointed out that the facilities for sports locally is almost negligible, and said those that are there are not up to international standards. “Guyana seem to have been left behind in the Caribbean” Yassin had said.

However, President Jagdeo in his response had stated that he has a responsibility to over 780,000 people, and that responsibility covered many areas, not only sports. “When countries like ours have limited resources, we have to make sure we get the best value for our money,” Jagdeo had said.

In response to Yassin’s statement then that sports can bring many benefits to a country (Guyana) especially with the acquisition of a stadium, Jagdeo had said: “You can recognise the many benefits sports can bring to the country, the financial benefits, but when you go to communities, you have to ask the people out there who face hardships, who are in a less fortunate situation, do you prefer the stadium or do you want water?. And they are the ones who make those choices”.

Yassin had said then, also, if given the land, the GOA would find the resources necessary to build the stadium, to which Jagdeo had replied: “I would be happy to go out with you tomorrow and mobilise resources from those many resources that you have been speaking about. Let’s start tomorrow. You have my commitment on that. You said there are many resources out there and I would like to know what those resources are and I am committing my government to working with you in mobilising those resources”.

Jagdeo had assured: “You have my commitment that within the limitations we have, that this is an important sector and it is going to receive the due attention of my government.”

Recently, Yassin in an exclusive interview with Stabroek Sport had said, since Jagdeo made those statements, he has not seen any constructive development for sports since then, and he was somehow disappointed with that.

Speaking at last week’s press conference, all the team managers thanked the GOA for affording them the opportunity to represent Guyana at the CAC level, and some managers spoke on their plans for next year.

Guyana Amateur Weightlifting Association’s general secretary, Aubrey Smith, pointed out that the level of competition at the CAC Games, was much higher than that of the Commonwealth Games. “We did not win any medal (CAC), but we will be embarking on a programme to win medals at the Pan American Games (Santo Domingo 2003).

Smith said the local lifters need to work harder and the coaches need to use modern techniques. He said the locals have already started their preparation for Pan Am “Their Christmas will come in Santo Domingo” Smith declared.

Yassin said the GOA must thank the coaches and parents of the athletes, stating that without them, the locals would not have won medals.

Guyana won eight medals, which comprised seven bronze and a silver. The squash players accounted for one silver and five bronze, while Paul Lewis and Nyota Peters won a bronze medal each in boxing and track and field.

Yassin said he is looking forward to more successes in the new year.

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