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Dropped – No Cash For World Relays

Michael Mathieu completes the anchor leg as the Bahamas wins gold in the mixed 4x400 at the IAAF World Relays in 2017.

Michael Mathieu completes the anchor leg as the Bahamas wins gold in the mixed 4x400 at the IAAF World Relays in 2017.

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

THE International Amateur Athletic Federation’s World Relays, which took the world by storm since its inception in The Bahamas in 2014, has been cancelled by the Bahamas government, ten months away before the country was due to host the event again in May next year.

No official word has been released from the government, but Michael Pintard, who was just relieved of his position as the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture before the decision was made, declined to comment.

Pintard, who has been moved to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, referred the matter to Lanisha Rolle, who replaced him in office on Wednesday.

Rolle, formerly the Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, was unavailable for comment.

Efforts were also made to contact Pauline Davis, the IAAF councilwoman, but she declined to comment. Davis, who will celebrate her 52nd birthday on Monday, said she preferred to wait until she received clarification from the government.

But Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ president Rosamunde Carey, who served as chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the last World Relays in 2017, said it’s quite disappointing that The Bahamas will not be the host any more.

“It’s very unfortunate that after working so hard to make The Bahamas the destination for the World Relays that we won’t be able to host it again,” Carey said.

“Over the years, we have made this one of the premier events hosted by the IAAF, because a lot of the things that were introduced at the World Relays are now being staged at various meets by the IAAF.”

The latest addition was the mixed relays, was staged for the first time in 2017 at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium when the team of Steven Gardiner, Shanuae Miller-Uibo, Anthonique Strachan and Michael Mathieu won The Bahamas’ first gold at the championships in a time of three minutes and 14.42 seconds.

The IAAF has agreed to add the mixed relays to its schedule of events during the IAAF World Championships, scheduled for September 28 to October 6, 2019, in Doha, Qatar.

Also since the three previous championships, held in 2014, 2015 and 2017, the IAAF has introduced the teams as a quartet when they entered at the start of the 100m on the track, and the winners were presented with their medals immediately following the event. Those two features of the World Relays were also carried over to some IAAF events.

Carey said that while The Bahamas won’t host the event on May 10-11, 2019, as originally planned, it’s not known who will pick up the baton and stage it next year. She said that she had spoken to IAAF president Lord Sebastian Coe, and several countries have expressed an interest.

She indicated that Coe is expected to make a formal announcement on the cancellation by The Bahamas and the possible venue for the next host country by next week.

The last World Relays, according to Carey, was estimated to cost about $5m to stage, including accommodations and transportation for the athletes and dignitaries that attended.

“It’s very disappointing, but we understand the consensus of the government,” she said. “As the former chairman, I just want to say thank you to the previous Bahamas Government and the IAAF for allowing us to showcase such a prestigious event.

“We have made The Bahamas a global sporting mecca, hosting the event to the high standard that the IAAF expected us to put on. We have been able to put the event as a staple on their calendar and fulfill the confidence that they had placed in our council and The Bahamas in general.”

With the BAAA preparing to go to elections in November, Carey said she’s not certain if the BAAA would be putting in a bid to host any other event in the next few years, including the return of the World Relays in 2021.

Comments

observer2 3 years, 3 months ago

We must remain fully focused on collecting VAT.

Anything that may provide some joy to the people or provide healthy activities for our youth must be canceled.

Besides you can go to the web shops for entertainment.

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realitycheck242 3 years, 3 months ago

The Number webshops may have picked up sponsorship of the world relays if the government did not increase their taxes ...now they vex ...

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John 3 years, 3 months ago

This has to be one of the most embarrassing, economically ill-informed and senseless decisions the Minnis government has made, without question. The Bahamas is a tourist destination, and of course, it would want to draw high-class events that will bring publicity to the country and eventually draw tourist to this destination. Not only are the World Relays filled with elite athletes, but these events draw news media from every part of the world, many who broadcast live from the event over its entire duration. Giving the country hours and hours of promotion and publicity. Friends, family, and fans of the athletes come to The Bahamas, get hotel rooms, buy food and hire ground transportation, among other things. They spend money. Money that would have otherwise never made it to the Bahamas. And so the $5 million the government spends to host the event spills into millions of dollars in other economic activity and free promotion of the country. And with the recent increase in VAT and additional taxation on the Web Shop boys, does the government still have to shut the country down? Is the government's financial crisis worse than we are being told? And how much more additional revenue will the government need to make things right?

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Alex_Charles 3 years, 3 months ago

we were always in an atrocious financial position and this government has also ramped up spending, the same as the PLP did when VAT was introduced.

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John 3 years, 3 months ago

So is this spending or investing with a guaranteed return?

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 3 months ago

Perry and Danny Johnson were only interested in putting on a show with athletic events ...... just like Caesar and Rome ......... and we all know where that ended ........ pride comes before a fall.

It is time that this Government begins to do things to ASSIST young Bahamian athletes ....... and stop depending on American high schools, academies and universities to train our athletes.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 3 months ago

Just look at the recent Carifta 2018 held in The Bahamas ....... the only winning U20 athletes we could muster up on a whole team of 70 children were the ones in US high schools or colleges ........ What does that tell us about our local training and competition levels?????? ..... Where are the investment in primary and junior sports programs???? ......... Laneisha to the rescue?????

Lord Jesus ........ help the MOYSC

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TheMadHatter 3 years, 3 months ago

"And with the recent increase in VAT and additional taxation on the Web Shop boys, does the government still have to shut the country down?"

NO. The previous govt has shut the country down by running up insane debts while in power.

I myself recently got a big flat screen TV on a payment plan from one of the local stores in Nassau. Last Saturday night my girlfriend and I had plans to have a nice dinner at Outback Steakhouse by the mall and afterward catch a movie. However, when we considered the cost of the meal, the movie tickets, a large popcorn to share and 2 small drinks - we were ok with the expense - but at the last minute luckily we remembered that the 3rd payment on the TV was due this week Thursday (yesterday) and so we decided to hold off and keep the money for that.

So we grabbed two chicken snacks, went back home and put a nice show on the big screen with the built-in Youtube app.

I am confident this is the same kind of thinking that Peter Turnquest is using as he fights temptation every day, reigning in spending and making sure our country's "big flat screen TV" don't get repossessed.

For those of you who think this event would be a net positive income - I say, the same would be like if you ran across a deal someone selling a car for $2500, and you know you could clean it up and put new tires and a working sound system and sell it for $4500 making a profit of $1200. (Net positive income).

Sounds wonderful. BUT you can't do it if you don't have $2500 to buy it.

We don't have $5M to "buy" this profitable sports event. Sad, but true.

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geostorm 3 years, 3 months ago

So true MadHatter. Why spend what you don't have? Don't blame the government for this decision. Unfortunately , most people will not understand what you are trying to say or what the government is attempting to do. Sad state of affairs.

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BahamaPundit 3 years, 3 months ago

This seems to show poor planning on the part of the FNM. Just like Carnival, this event could have been opened to and funded by the private sector.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 3 months ago

Carnival is privatized by you know who ............. Numbers Cartel can also bid for the 2019 IAAF Relays

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birdiestrachan 3 years, 3 months ago

Without vision the people perish. What about the spouse office have they opened that yet or is it hidden somewhere? doc travelling all about and opening offices on certain Islands doc will find out soon enough no body wants to see any of them. They lie to much

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concernedcitizen 3 years, 3 months ago

were you one of the ones with a wheel barrow carting 500 million ,yea a half a billion , out of the front door of BOB while the PLP was in power ,,well nothing is free ,,that 500 million that came from NIB could have been used to pay bills by the gov ..My God as soon as the PLP would put a 100 million in BOB from our tax payer funded NIB they would cart it out the friend door in loans to friends and cronies ..Miller got 23 million we will never see again and put up the bowling alley/complex as collateral .At best that complex is worth 2 million ..Tell me Birdie its the Bahamian people get any value at all by letting Miller swap something worth2 million for 23 million of tax payer funds ,,Please Birdie do some obeah/voodoo economics to make that a good deal for the taxpayer

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Truism 3 years, 3 months ago

I'm sure if we do a forensic audit at MOYSC we could find the funds to host that. LMAO

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 3 months ago

And while you are at it ................... Find the promised sports officers and the gyms/tracks for the Out Islands

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John 3 years, 3 months ago

For those of you who think this event would be a net positive income - I say, the same would be like if you ran across a deal someone selling a car for $2500, and you know you could clean it up and put new tires and a working sound system and sell it for $4500 making a profit of $1200. (Net positive income).

Sounds wonderful. BUT you can't do it if you don't have $2500 to buy it.

We don't have $5M to "buy" this profitable sports event. Sad, but true.

Your reasoning is without foundation. First of all purchasing a flat screen for your own entertainment (and hoping to score with your girl) is totally different from investing in an already popular international sports event and hoping to realize a profit or at least break even. And since most people who will be attending this event have already planned and budgeted for it next year and they will be attending whether it is held in the Bahamas or not. And of course, the news media and other sports and auxiliary personnel that attend and follow these events are a shoe in. So whilst the Bahamian participation may not be as expected, the foreign visitors, which generate new revenue are almost guaranteed. And since the government predicts there will be some growth in the economy in the next ten months and moving forward, the Bahamian participation may be greater than expected, despite the increase in VAT. To say that the Bahamas government does not have $5 million to invest in an event of this caliber is indeed sad., and sorry!

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concernedcitizen 3 years, 3 months ago

all I see at most of these gov sponsored events is a 3/4 empty stadium

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Greentea 3 years, 3 months ago

Like far too many financial decisions made by successive Bahamian governments- this appears painfully shortsighted. After years of building the event - which I really enjoyed attending, they suddenly cancel it just when it was beginning to pay off? It also reeks of another problem- a lack of continuity between governments. Money and investment down the drain during a weak tourism period.

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John 3 years, 3 months ago

One can say the same for the long cancelled Bahamas Games. It’s too financially painful for them to have found money to put on this event every three years. Yet they a united Bahamas. They want top class athletes that can go abroad and not only compete but win events and bring home medals. And so now they have to spend $5 million or more on police cars and equipment to fight a crime situation that is not getting better. In fact it may be getting worse. But how much is being spent on events for youth and the general public post high school? The National Stadium is begging for events. And hotels and tourist related businesses can use a summer boost that tends to trickle into the winter season and make it more active.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 3 months ago

It is so laughable to believe we had more events back in 1973 than we have now at Independence ......... especially social events to unite the country.

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hnhanna 3 years, 3 months ago

We are now just paying for the cost of the last two enents

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John 3 years, 3 months ago

Government raised VAY by 4.5% or some sixty two percent. Close to being doubled. So you are saying that despite the fact that government will collect several billion from VAT during the remainder of their term in office, they could not cough up $5 million to stage a world recognized international event? Even if they were to cancel future events they should host this one that they have already committed to. And anyone who says this event was poorly attended must be blind sighted or a pathetic liar. And while the profitability of the event may be questionable , the spinoff and future benefits from the event are unquestionable. Especially is there is truth to the government’s claim that the country has turned the country, economically and they need events and activities to stimulate the economy and cause it to grow even more. Not forgetting that other Caribbean countries that may have been in competition to host the event are still recovering from hurricane damage.

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John 3 years, 3 months ago

So are there any other events scheduled for the National Stadium this year? AnY? Junior Junkanno has been moved right. So the maintenance and management of this underused stadium will cost the government over a million for the next six months. Not to mention depreciation. So government will still have to spend half ot what it costs to put on the World Relays on the stadium in any event. So even if it sponsored the event and gave every Bahamian that attended a discounted ticket, iy would be financially in a better position than cancelling the event, all things considered. But wait. Maybe they can move the Post Office to the stadium. Each empty seat can be a post box and general mail can be collected at the concession stand!

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 3 months ago

The whole Oakes Field/Queen Elizabeth sports complex is now an extension of the University of The Bahamas ....... it has to become a centre for attracting NCAA and other professional events to this country and become a part of the proposed National Sports Academy that will provide the breeding and training ground for future youth sports athletes in ALL sporting disciplines (basketball, baseball, tennis, track, swimming etc.) ........ But it has to be funded properly, and not like what Perry dem was doing for poppy-show

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