A time for action Sports Scope.......Our Opinion

Stabroek News
October 24, 2003

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We at Sportscope are of the view that the time for action has come with respect to delinquent national sporting bodies, who have failed to comply with the minimum standard of accountability.

It has been noted recently by Ian Mc Donald, a former Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago lawn tennis player, that the Guyana Lawn Tennis Association (GLTA) seems to have gone to `sleep’. The respected manager, journalist, sportsman and poet questioned when was the last time that body held an annual general meeting (AGM). According to Mc Donald it is a shame that lawn tennis has fallen on such `bad’ days. In addition, he noted that in his day AGM’s, audited accounts and financial statements were the norm. He stated too that every year there were national championships and Guyana also participated at regional tournaments. The former Guysuco Director of Marketing also told this newspaper that it may be true that sponsorship of the game is at a low. He said that this may be attributed to questions about the management of the association and said clearly that no sponsor would be inclined to invest money in an organization which was being mismanaged.

Also adding his voice to concerns about lawn tennis in Guyana is Rudy Grant, a respected radio broadcaster, singer and former lawn tennis player. Grant is quoted as saying that persons who can make a difference in the game are reluctant because they are afraid to upset the status quo. He added too that the issue of sponsorship is a major sticking point especially since sponsors want accountability in regard to monies they `dish’ out for sporting events.

In February of this year, Minister of Culture Youth & Sport Gail Tiexiera had revealed that a number of sporting associations were in arrears as regard to their annual reports and audited financial statements. The minister did not name any of these recalcitrant entities, but said that some have been in arrears for over seven years. Our investigations have revealed that the GLTA has not held any AGM for over three years.

We at Sportscope feel that this situation must be arrested in a hurry and now is the time for action. A new year is fast approaching and still we are in the dark about what progress if any, these `bodies’ have made towards straightening their records!

The question is, must we wait for another year and another presentation ceremony to hear the minister again chiding these organizations? The answer is a resounding no! We cannot afford to let the persons at the helm of these bodies take us for another `ride’ into unaccountability and skulduggery while sports continues to take a battering.

Dr Mc Donald observed what seems to be a revival of sports locally, especially in the arenas of squash, boxing, cricket and bodybuilding to name a few. However, let us for a moment imagine how much more meaningful that revival would be if all our national sporting associations `toe the line’ so to speak. The point is we must not let these successes overshadow or cloud our judgement since to do so would be to the detriment of all concerned. We must look at how we can improve on what has been achieved and build on that, always striving for perfection in every area, including management which carries with it the important tangent of accountability. The fact is without the athletes and `foot soldiers’ there would be no organization!

It is time the minister and or the National Sports Commission (NSC) tell the Guyanese public who these organizations are that have defaulted, how many years they are in deficit and just who are the executives.

Sportscope feels that without the intervention of the ministry or the NSC this situation will continue indefinitely since those who may be guilty of mismanagement and or `inaction’ will just sit on their `laurels’ and do nothing while `lapping-up’ the `soup’ that comes with being an executive on paper only.

We also feel that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the minister identifying those associations that are in the `red’ as well as those that have done well.

If she is reluctant to go that route, then it may be possible to instruct the NSC to go after these organizations and `nudge’ them into action to correct the situation. Failing that the public may get the perception that the authorities are in fact condoning the current situation!

As a last resort concerned Guyanese may want to petition our courts to take drastic action to compel these organizations and their principals to comply with their ethical, moral and legal obligations to all Guyanese.

The case of the Demerara Cricket Board (DCB) which is now before the courts can be used as `persuasive argument’ to let others know that their shirking and or flouting of responsibility will not be allowed to continue unabated. Now is the time for action!