Will The Bahamas Games ever return?
Guardian Sports Reporter
Published: May 24, 2012
Former Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard has little faith in the current minister, Dr. Daniel Johnson or the promise that The Bahamas Games will return under his watch.
Dr. Johnson, who recently took office as the new minister with the responsibility for sports in the country, is preparing for the games that were put on hold many years ago. He views the games as “the greatest feeder system the country has,” and wanted to make sure that the country is ready for another successful hosting of the games.
“The Bahamas Games brought the best from each island to compete together and this is how we discovered some of the names that we now see,” said Johnson. “These people are now premier names in track and field and the other sports. They were discovered by someone, one day, and of course got the chance, so it is our job to open opportunities for new and young people, and show a habit of excellence.”
At one point, The Bahamas Games was held once every two years. The last hosting was in 2001, under the theme: “We’ve got the power”. That was the fifth games since the official launch in 1989. The games, designed to bridge the gap through sports, saw more than 2,500 athletes, coaches, officials and administrators from 13 Family Islands, get together in New Providence for various sporting disciplines in 2001.
Many attempts to revive the games were made several years back by both governments, but according to Maynard, a lack of facilities was the main reason why his government was unable to reintroduce the games.
“In their last term in office they canceled The Bahamas Games in order to build sports facilities in the Family Islands, so I have very little faith that they are going to do that (host the games),” said Maynard. “They didn’t do it then and I don’t expect them to do it now. We left plans in place to complete the sports center’s redevelopment, to do sports facilities in Abaco, Eleuthera and Exuma. I would hope that they would continue on with those plans. We had already submitted budget proposals for them as well and so, we will just wait and see exactly what their strategy is for sports development.
“One of the things that we did do, is reinstate the facilities that were demolished under their watch so that you can host a Bahamas Games. The problem was that the national baseball and softball stadiums were demolished and we had to get those going. We were working closely with the federations in order to ensure that their junior programs, not only in Nassau, but throughout the country, were producing the kind of talent that we needed. That was seen in the results that we were having at the junior level in track and field, volleyball, baseball, basketball, straight across the line. We were quite pleased with the level of development of our young people throughout the country. We were ready to reinstate The Bahamas Games as The Bahamas Youth Games and not the way it used to be structured. We had conversations with the federations so we can do that. Again, we hope that they continue on with the plan that we left in place for that.”
There is still no permanent home for softball in the country and the new baseball stadium is still under construction.