Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
October 08, 2007
The Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture is set to fulfill yet another commitment as it continues to reach out to partner with all stakeholders and sporting associations to improve the standard of sports in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The latest fulfillment of that strategy is the procurement of a new high quality all weather sports mat for Basketball City to a value of approximately EC$55,000 and which is expected to be shipped to St Kitts in the second week of October.
The decision to obtain a new improved surface for basketball was made after consultation with the St. Kitts Amateur Basketball Association (SKABA) and a pledge of financial support from the St. Kitts and Nevis Olympic Committee (SKNOC). It was agreed that Government would provide 50% of the funding and that the old mat would be replaced as soon as funds could be jointly made available and the new surface sourced. The fact that Government was later required to provide more than 80% of the funding resulted in a short but understandable delay in compiling the required funding.Unfortunately the old mat was apparently completely discarded by the Basketball Association without confirmation from the Ministry of Sports as to exactly when the new surface would be available locally. In the meantime, the Ministry arranged for its similar two-year old mat, purchased in 2005 for the use of the Volleyball Association, to be temporarily used at Basketball City when not needed by volleyball.
Hosting of the OECS Men’s Volleyball Championships in September meant that the use of the Volleyball mat at Basketball City had to be temporarily suspended. Since the recent conclusion of that tournament, the Ministry has again arranged for the temporary loan of the Volleyball mat to SKABA until the new surface can be available.
It is unfortunate that some persons with questionable agendas have sought to use this good-faith attempt by the Ministry of Sports, SKABA and the SKNOC to improve the quality of Basketball City, as a political issue. The Ministry of Sports has been fully committed and engaged throughout the process of fund-raising, sourcing, procuring, manufacturing and shipping of the new surface, and refutes any suggestion otherwise. A recent email from the Assistant Secretary of SKABA reinforced this: “SKABA wishes to place on record its sincerest appreciation to the Hon. Minister and his Ministry as well as to the President of the SKNOC Alphonso Bridgewater and his executive members for combining resources,” the official wrote, adding that his organization had just received the $10,000.00 commitment promised by the SKNOC.
The Ministry is proud of its impressive record as a servant of sports in the Federation, and wishes to reassure the general public that it will continue to partner with all stakeholders, including SKABA, in the active and progressive development of sporting facilities in particular and sports in general.