Sports funding through national lottery possible
By Fred Sturrup
NG Columnist/Sales Executive
The Government of The Bahamas through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture faces a monumental financial task in providing just small grants to the various federations. The grants for federations and subsidies for boards and commissions were sliced by the previous administration and judging by the budget presented recently, nothing much figures to change.
With this backdrop, a national sports lottery must be sounding good now even to those politicians who previously opposed legalizing gambling in the country. Prime Minister Perry Christie and his government colleagues are set to bring before the people a referendum on gambling.
Bring it on!
Hopefully, as indicated by Prime Minister Christie, the referendum will happen in 2012. The sooner the better, and then perhaps, we will follow the pattern of the United Kingdom. UK Sport is the entity with responsibility for managing all of the public investment funds. Accordingly, much of the funds raised through the national lottery in the UK go for the country's sporting program. Some 28 percent from the lottery in fact goes towards the development of sports.
Surely this is an avenue our politicians should be thinking of. Of course everything hinges on the referendum and the voting result. It's a good thought though.
Presently the incoming government is between a rock and a hard place. Prime Minister Christie and company were left financially strapped, but yet with an obligation to the people of the nation, to do a whole lot. Those within the Christie Administration have to buckle up and face the challenges head-on. Quite frankly, they asked the electorate to support them during the general election, with a good idea of what they would meet in place.
Based on the campaign pleas, essentially of "get rid of the Free National Movement government and try us" the new government ought to be fully prepared to bite the bullet and press on. If the outcome of the referendum puts the government in a position to legalize gambling, a lot of the financial woes of the country could be answered.
There are a variety of templates to follow. I propose a system similar to the UK. The Government of The Bahamas could establish something akin to UK Sport that would monitor the funds coming out of the legalized gambling revenue and earmarked for sports.
Let's stop the hypocrisy.
I agree with the prime minister.
"We cannot have the system of government in The Bahamas where people are paying national insurance, making other institutional payments and then otherwise, pretending that this activity isn't lawful. That can't go any further," PM Christie was quoted in a recent Nassau Guardian article.
Yes, let's keep it real!
The referendum will do as much. My suggestion to the leaders of the sporting community is to put together a collective presentation to make to the government, just in case the people are in favor of legalized gambling.
Help the government to come up with a good plan that would enable the national sports program to best benefit from the funding to be derived from legalized gambling.
© 2012 The Freeport News