-says he is interested in new advancement models at GOA Awards
By Michael Benjamin
President Donald Ramotar is adamant that sport is integral in the
development of this nation, and his Government has underlined this belief through the construction of several modern sport facilities across the country.
Ramotar was delivering the feature address at the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) Appreciation and Awards Ceremony at the Georgetown Club last evening where several of Guyana’s sports personalities were honoured for their sterling contributions, including former National Sports Commission (NSC) Chairman, Conrad Plummer, Karateka, Winston Dunbar, Fritzroy McLean, Earl O’Neil, Arnold Sookraj and Coleen Liddell. Former squash player, Garfield Wiltshire was adjudged GOA Council Member of the Year while Kaieteur News Sports Journalist, Edison Jefford was rewarded for his journalistic input into Olympic sports.
In his feature address, the Head of State said that his Government is serious about sports development even as he pointed out the disparity of funds injected into the sports fraternity between 1992 and last year. He informed that while 14 million dollars was allocated in the sports sector in 1992, last year witnessed a vast increase where more than 700 million was channeled towards sports development.
“This government is serious about sports and the evidence of this could be seen in the construction of the National Stadium,” Ramotar said, also citing the Aquatics Centre in Liliendaal, the Racquet Centre and the Synthetic Track and Field Facility that is currently under construction at Leonora.
The President also made mention of the construction and rehabilitation works recently done at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH).
Ramotar further pointed out that sports serve as the catalyst to unity since it brings together people of different races and cultures while developing personal and social skills. “Sports also removes racial and class barriers,” Ramotar exhorted.
He said that his government respects the autonomy of sports associations, stating that they should be free to conduct their affairs. However, he pointed out that such activities should be conducted within the confines of the laws of Guyana.
Earlier, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Frank Anthony went to great lengths to explain his government’s role in the regularisation of cricket. He pointed out that Government has little interest in taking over the sport, but was more interested in pacifying the raging dispute among the current factions.
Anthony said that approximately three years ago, Executives of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) had sought the intervention of his Ministry to quell certain internal problems. Those problems included accusations of financial impropriety among others.
Anthony said that the problems among cricket executives ballooned out of proportion and he became involved in an effort to pacify the situation. He said that he had sought assistance from officials of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), but they had been reluctant to assist.
“My Ministry has no interest in directing the affairs of the local cricket board, but rather in regularising the situation” Anthony indicated.
Before Anthony, GOA President, K. A. Juman Yassin had beseeched Ramotar’s intervention in the raging cricket imbroglio as well as the appointment of commissioners to conduct the affairs of the NSC. Anthony assured the GOA boss that the issue has been discussed at the level of the cabinet and that body has suggested an extended period on the life of the Commission.
The British High Commissioner, Andrew Ayre was also in attendance and complimented the organisers for their efforts in recognising the feats of local athletes. He believes that such gestures serve as morale boosters to athletes, and act as the catalyst for the attainment of higher goals.
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