LEADER’S PRESS CONFERENCE: WILL THERE BE BASKETBALL NATIONALS THIS YEAR?

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Leader Of the PLP Philip Davis held his monthly press conference at the PLP;s Headquarter at Lynden Pindling Centre on Tuesday.  He called the country’s attention to the fact that the National Basketball Championships for high school seniors in The Bahamas may not happen because the referees for last year’s games have not been paid and the winders of last year’s teams have not received their championship rings:

BASKETBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

I wish to end by commenting on the scholastic Basketball National Championships.

The chairman wrote the Minister of Education just this morning to seek confirmation that this important event will indeed be held. The Ministry of Education’s Sports Department is responsible.

On my recent trip to Grand Bahama, I hosted the coaches of Sunland and the coaches and players of Saint George’s High School Basketball Team to dinner in Freeport.

I enjoyed their company, benefitted of their views on scholastic sports and the following observations emerged from our fruitful discussions:

  • There are concerns that there will be no basketball nationals this year.
  • There is a lack of funding, but this national tournament is an economic stimulus for Freeport as hotel rooms are filled and restaurants and transportation companies are patronized. 
  • It emerged that last year’s winners have not received their championship rings and the referees have not been paid. This imperils the nationals for this year.
  • There are concerns about the number of visa applications being turned down by the U.S. Embassy for Bahamian students to study abroad on athletic scholarships.

As for the expressed concerns that are under the control of the government to correct – we find these longstanding concerns and deficiencies totally unacceptable and these conditions would never happen under a PLP administration. The Nationals are important to youth and sports development not to mention the exposure to foreign college coaches who scout their talents, offer our student athletes scholarships and in the process benefit our country immeasurably. 

As policymakers, it is not good enough to recognize and celebrate the Buddy Hields of the world after they’ve made it to the NCAA Division 1 tournament or the NBA. We must be instrumental in creating the next Buddy Hield through nurturing, support and subventions. Let’s invest in our youths.