Is the sport ministry fulfilling its mandate? SPORTS SCOPE Our Opinion

Stabroek News
January 10, 2004

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Last February, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Gail Teixeira, disclosed that several national sporting associations were delinquent with regard to the submission of their annual reports, as well as their audited financial statements. In addition, several of them had not held Annual General Meetings (AGMs) for years. The minister chided these bodies for their laxity and urged them to put their houses in order.

We are now into a new year and it seems as though her pleas fell on deaf ears since nothing much has changed. This is with the exception of the recent announcement by the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) that the long- overdue elections of the Guyana Lawn Tennis Association (GLTA) will be held in a matter of days. We at Sportscope feel that this disclosure should have been made by the minister, since the association falls under her purview.

This is certainly a bad reflection on the part of the minister and the question must be asked, just what has she done for sport in Guyana since she assumed that office?

Rather than bombard us with more plans, we would like to see action. All Guyana must hold the minister accountable for the poor performance of the Ministry of Sport. The annual sports awards ceremony is just around the corner and it may be a good forum for the minister to reveal the achievements of the Ministry of Sport for the past year. She can also outline for the nation a broad vision of how sport can contribute to the national economy as well as how that vision can be attained.

We at Sportscope are fed up with the rehashing of the old rhetoric about limited resources and budgetary constraints. No doubt the minister will seek to gain mileage from the recently-announced plans for a stadium. While a stadium is important, it cannot hide the fact that sports on the whole in Guyana has been mismanaged to some extent at the ministerial level.

Many of the successes during the year were mainly due to the individual efforts of some sporting associations.

At the recent Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) awards ceremony, the minister urged local sporting bodies to look for alternative sources of funding for their activities instead of going to government with a bowl in their hand.

She gave the solitary example of a team of footballers from Lethem (Kanuku Invaders), who recently took part in the annual Kashif and Shanghai tournament and who raised funds for their participation by self-help.

We at Sportscope feel that this statement speaks volumes since it reinforces our view that the ministry is either unwilling to help develop sport with tangible contributions or is rudderless when it comes to leadership.