Former senior sports officer Colebrooke dies at 68


KEVIN Colebrooke


Senior Sports Reporter


THE Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is mourning the loss and reflecting on the life of its former senior officer Kevin Colebrooke, who also served at one time as the acting director of sports. He died at his home on Friday, September 16.

Colebrooke, 68, was married to Cora Bain- Colebrooke, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. He has one daughter, Kristen Colebrooke, a member of Bahamas Aquatics.

As a former track and field athlete, Colebrooke graduated from St Augustine’s in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1981 and joined the public service as a sports officer at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture on March 2. He served for 38 years eventually being promoted to deputy director of sports and subsequently sat in as the interim director of sports.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg said Colebrooke honestly pursued the profession to which he aspired, and when he faced challenges in realising those aspirations, he painstakingly created the framework for achieving them in whatever the capacity of his service.

Working under the supervision of the late Winston ‘Gus’ Cooper in the newly minted Department of Sports, Bowleg said Colebrooke consistently exhibited such a constructive approach throughout his years of productive service. “In such a regard, Kevin also proved himself to be another revolutionary figure in national development through sports. For in his extended tenure with my Ministry, he himself, serving as the liaison officer for a number of national core sport associations and federations, among which were golf, table games, rugby, swimming and the Royal Life Guard Association,” Bowleg said.

“His ultimate focus centred on Swimming/Life Guarding however, no doubt a reflection of his keen interest in the propagation of that sport in a country two-thirds of which is comprised of water but as much two-thirds of its youth unable to swim.”

Colebrooke’s passion for growing the sport of swimming is reflected in his joyous acceptance of his assignment to dedicate himself to representing the interests of the Department of Sports by understudying all aspects of the construction of the Betty Kelly Kenning National Swim Complex at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Center in 2010. “In assuming such a demanding task, he inhabited the construction site from start to finish, resulting in him becoming intensely familiar with all the many complexities of that facility’s three computerised infrastructure, all its systems of operation and all best practices in an ordained maintenance programme,” Bowleg said.

“Equally as nationally notable is that Kevin was more than supportive of the decision by the late Betty Kelly Kenning, a genuine nationalist who maintained her pledge to construct the National Swim Complex, undeterred by the escalation in the cost of completing the project, from the initial $3.5 million to $5 million and then to $7.5 million.”

Bowleg said Colebrooke’s determination to complete the project emanated from his personal experiences and exploits as a member of this country’s first national swim teams in the early days of the 1940s.

“Likewise was Kevin in Kelly-Kenning’s confidence when she eschewed kinetic lobbying to instead construct the swim complex on a private school property some miles to the east, away from the densely populated centres surrounding the Queen Elizabeth Sports Center,” Bowleg said.

“Conclusively then, in the course of his superlative career, Kevin played a major role in the organisation and execution of every Bahamas Games held in 1989, 1991, 1995, 1998, and in 2001, and was actively engaged with the planning of the Golden Jubilee Bahamas Games scheduled for 2023.”

Colebrooke was also provided the impetus for the Bahamas to host the Junior Commonwealth Games in 2017. “Also, he implemented a number of developmental programmes at the National Swim Complex and provided the framework for many others, Bowleg said.

According to Oria ‘Big O’ Wood, another senior sports officer in the Ministry, Colebrooke worked hard to ensure that a swim programme was initiated at the Betty Kelly Kenning swimming complex and carried out his duties to the best of his abilities. She remembered Colebrooke as being “stylist, playful, meticulous and blunt.”

Timothy Munnings, who was then hired as the director of sports, said the Department of Sports at the ministry lost a valuable member of the team when he demitted office. He referred to Colebrooke as a dedicated public servant for over 30 years, whose knowledge and experience played an integral role in the operation of the Ministry as a whole. “Even in his retirement, Kevin remained willing and available to assist and joined the Bahamas Games organising committee to lend his expertise to this major national sporting event,” Munnings said. “Kevin was also a lover of the water and focused much of his energy in ensuring that both the Betty Kelly Kenning Aquatic Centre and the South Beach Pools facilities were functioning for all those that wanted to swim and was the driving force to attract international universities to the pools for winter training.”

The Tribune Sports Department extends its condolences to the Colebrooke family.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment