The national sports debate today is the YASCO fiasco. Although this facility has been the talk over many years, this debate rose to prominence after recent media releases from the Minister of Sports, Sen. Winston Williams and on other occasions by the Director of Sports, Mr. Meryn Richards, indicating the Ministry’s intention of outsourcing the operation or control of the Young Antiguan Sporting & Cultural Organization (YASCO) sports complex.
The planning of this particular sporting facility started as far back as 1982, and building began 1983/84, with the Rotary Club pioneering the project. Subsequently, the project was turned over to the Government and the unwritten understanding of the Antigua/Barbuda Athletic Association as the caretakers of the facility.
Nevertheless, the control of the YASCO by the ABAA has never been concretized and responsibility of the further enhancement of the grounds kept on shifting from Government to ABAA and at other times the Antigua/Barbuda Football Association. This type of ambiguous shifting of responsibility seems to arise depending on which entity is in favour of benefiting at the particular time.
Against this backdrop, no one can be exonerated or claim blameless. From the Former Prime Minister, Hon. Lester Bird, athlete and a Panam Games Long Jump medalist to present day sports official, all have failed to resolve the situation of the YASCO dilemma.
Not only was and is Lester Bird the representative of the area which the facility is in, but so too was the Sen. Errol Cort who was also the former Finance Minister.
Dr. Rodney Williams is the present president of the ABAA, and was at a previous time. Dr. Williams was also Minister of Sports at one time and on another occasion, the President of the Antigua/Barbuda National Olympic Association, an organization which has the luxury of acquiring funds from International sources and the IOC. He is a medical doctor by professional and is well respected in the Antigua society; so too is Dr. Philmore Benjamin, the past President of the ABAA. Former Boxing and wrestling promoter and former Minister of Sports, Volleyballer Bernard Percival had his chance. All have received failing grades in getting the YASCO facility to international level.
Then there is the master of fundraising and former Secretary-General of the Antigua Olympic Association and on occasions, one of the leading members of the ABAA, Mr. Leroy Williams. He too has received a failing grade for YASCO.
One cannot forget the former Minister of Sports, Mr. Guy Yearwood who talks more sports than on ESPN, but failed to realize the completion of YASCO. Today, there is the Sen. Winston Williams, whose overzealous ambition, spend more money in trying to appease each constituency by building facilities, instead of finishing YASCO, a national project, first, and then the others. Mr. Williams is in a position to redeem his failing grade, but not through out-sourcing the facility.
Then there are the other sporting officials whose mediocrity in ad-ministering sports in Antigua have left them with failing grades, former football president and present Director of Sports, Mr. Mervyn Richards, Sen. Chet Greene, former Commissioner of Sports and present President of the Antigua Olympic Committee, Calvin Greenaway, Vice President of the ABAA, Jawaki Jones, former member of the ABAA and Assistant Director of Sports, to name a few.
Let’s stop the talk shop. Let us do something about the YASCO project. Giving it away is not the Answer!! The CPTSA will work along with any group or persons willing to see the maintenance of the YASCO. Let’s start with the Clean Up !! If YOU’RE SERIOUS CALL 774-4894 / 788-8783