By BRENT STUBBS
CHRISTMAS is coming, the goose is getting fat... Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.
That’s a portion of a popular nursery rhyme that depicts the season that we are preparing for.
And as we look forward to the Yuletide season, one of the developments that the sporting community is looking forward to is the implementation of the recent announcement by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis that sailing will become the national sport of the country, replacing cricket. With the sport falling under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, I took the opportunity to question Minister Renward Wells on just how they plan to unwrap this gift, if not in the holiday, in the New Year.
Question:How is it
Answer: I’m a fellow who came from athletics, track and field, and I would say that is the national sport. But at the end of the day, we’re a nation surrounded by one hundred thousand square miles of water, we are a maritime people and we have some of the best sailors in the world.
“We fly airplanes just like we sail boats. We’re good at it. We’re good at moving machinery, so at the end of the day, I agree with the Prime Minister in making sailing the national sport because Bahamians don’t play cricket, but we do sail and we want to pass on that kind of knowledge and history to our children.”
It’s just so unfortunate that cricket, which is a dominating sport throughout the Caribbean, has dwindled and the participation has been geared mainly towards the expatriates living in the country.
But it’s a crying shame that as a country we have not embraced the sport that has been the focal point of our part-time activities at Haynes Oval and Windsor Park.
Maybe before the transition is made, a more concerted effort will be made to get more Bahamians involved in cricket once again. It has certainly given a lot of our Bahamian male players the opportunity to travel around the world to compete and it would be a disgrace to see it continue to diminish.
Question: With the sport of sailing currently going through a controversy at the Best of the Best Regatta, as the Minister, how can the Ministry avoid any further disruptions in the way forward?
Answer: “I think what needs to happen is there needs to be a better oversight of regattas,” Wells said. “There needs to be a firm governing body that needs to look at the sport of sailing in its entirety.
“We need to see how and where that is. I know that we do have a body that overseas sailing, but we need to recognise it like we recognise the BAAA or any of the other sporting bodies that have the international recognition, so that body will also have to oversee regattas as it will be a part of sailing.”
Over the years, there has been one controversy over the other that has rocked the sport of sailing. There are also currently five different bodies that make decisions for the sport and it’s going to be imperative that a federation is formed to oversee or govern the sport.
So there will have to be a lot of dialogue taking place to ensure that everybody is on the same page if and when the sport does become the national sport before it is presented to the cabinet of the Bahamas for the change.
Question:So Minister Wells, is there a time frame for the transformation?
Answer: “Over the next few months. I don’t see it being a long process,” Wells declared.
“So I will be looking at how we are going to do it as soon as we can.”
Christmas is coming and the goose is certainly getting fat. Hopefully, there are can be some more decision on the way forward because it’s obvious that one of the country’s oldest sports could use a couple pennies placed in the old man’s hat to get over the hump.