On Sunday June 7, 2010 the Department of Sports formalized the return to community based ownership and community based management in sports. Following our consultations last year on the way forward we were greatly encouraged by the level of support received from our stakeholders.
Of particular concern to us was the development of a sustainable mechanism for the management of our public sports and recreational facilities. We put the question to our stakeholders. How can be put sports in the heart of our communities? In response, we received confirmation in the spirit of the intention outlined in the 2009 UPP Manifesto to create management systems which will empower community based groups. This confirmation was not just in words, it was backed by a very heartwarming response from a number of sports and recreational entities who stepped up to the plate and agreed to take on the challenge. The community based sports management system was born or in some cases reborn.
On July 8, 2010, we signed the first MOU for the Community Based Ownership initiative for management of the Johnston’s Mini Stadium by the JSC Stadium Management Association. Since then we have been busy negotiating with other entities and today we are pleased to have a signing ceremony for eleven (11) entities.
1. Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association - YASCO
2. Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association - JSC Sports Complex
3. Antigua/Barbuda Domino Association - Ottos New Town Sports and Community Centre
4. Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Association - Former Nurse's Hostel
5. Antigua and Barbuda Softball Cricket Association - Princess Margaret School Community Grounds
6. Bolan's Sports Management Organization - Bolan's Sports Complex
7. Hope Tree Foundation - Nut Grove, Golden Grove and Lower Ottos Sports and Community Development Complexes
8. John Hughes Sports Club – John Hughes Sports Complex
9. Old Road Football Club – Old Road Sports Complex
10. Ottos Rangers Football Club - Radio Range Sports Complex and Recreational Park
11. Uprising Boxing Gym - Ottos New Town Sports and Community Centre
Next year, the process continues with the Antigua and Barbuda Softball Cricket Association and the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association to name a few.
This level of response is a reassurance of the existence of the strong spirit of service which resides in Antiguans and Barbudans. It is a confirmation of the power of sports to unify even in the face of diversity and adversity. This is a reflection of how the creative talents of well meaning citizens can enhance the sporting fraternity even in challenging economic times. I am excited. We are excited about the endless possibilities which exist for our sector. Together we can make a difference. Let us all continue to work together for positive change in sports and recreation.
I would wish before the signing process to take this opportunity to thank you all for a wonderful year. We look forward to your support in 2011.
May God bless us all this season and in the new year.