|Sports minister faces huge challenges - Part 2|
Guardian Columnist/Sales Executive
Published: May 23, 2012
New Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson has already met with his tripartite staff.
He has thus been afforded much information from those arms based on the respective vantage points. The bulk of the work ahead for him rests within the sports sector of his ministry. Now, he has to get with the heads of federations, commissions and boards. They are all part of the inner workings of the national sports program. They are indeed the mechanisms that play a major collective role in the functioning of the Bahamian sports system.
It would be best for him to get the full perspective of all parties involved. The sports minister from the outset is rightly speaking of what needs to happen, going forward in the Bahamian sports industry. He is strong on the tourism aspect. Sports tourism could be much bigger, generating more dividends. I like his enthusiasm in this area and hope he will be a driving force, mobilizing his sports officials to connect with peers in the Ministry of Tourism, to maximize sports tourism for the country.
There are other challenges for Minister Johnson. A recent Guardian sports lead quoted Dr. Johnson thusly: “We know we have about 400 young men and women who want to play baseball and softball. That is going to happen. We are in the process of now going to build a new baseball stadium. We have to finish off the grounds around the present stadium. We have a master plan for facilities.”
The baseball matter is a delicate one. I support his deep interest in baseball. This country can recapture its past reputation in baseball. There was a time when we produced professional baseball players at a rate comparable to countries like the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Puerto Rico. Now those Latin countries have left The Bahamas in the dust.
The Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) has the leverage to sort out the impasse between the Bahamas Baseball Association (BBA) and the Bahamas Baseball Federation (BBF). It is the BOC that can bring the sport under a central umbrella. If this happens, the potential would be triple what it is now. I like Dr. Johnson’s zeal, but with baseball he needs the BOC to take the initiative.
This is one of the challenges he faces. The sporting organizations operate independent of any governmental intrusion. Dr. Johnson will have to find that nucleus that can best assist him in this regard. Dr. Johnson is looking also, as he should, at all the other sporting disciplines. It is a tall order he faces.
The task is a complex one, complicated, involved, intricate, hard, time-consuming, demanding and will test the mettle of the man.
•End of two-part series. To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com