NASSAU, Bahamas – Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Desmond Bannister said the Government’s budgeting of close to a half million dollars to support regattas is proof of its “ongoing commitment” to supporting the sport.
This is more than the Government gives to any other sport and we intend to continue to support you,” Minister Bannister said at a press conference Thursday. Minister Bannister added that as a “Family Island boy”, he is acutely aware of the importance of regattas to Bahamian communities.
“Many of the residents of our Family Island settlements rely on the income that they derive from the Regatta in their community to carry them through the year,” he said.
“It is therefore critical for those of us who are involved in regattas to remember how much these communities depend on us and to seek to put our differences away in the most amicable fashion so that we can continue to serve a useful purpose in our Family Island community.”
Minister Bannister pointed out that regattas cannot continue to be just “one big party”. He added that ways must be explored to help Bahamians understand the rules and the intricacies of the sport; so that more of them will actually watch the races rather than completely ignore them.
“Too many Bahamians go away from regattas without any idea of the vast army of skills that you employ during the races; in fact too few of them know who the warriors of the races are,” Minister Bannister said.
He said he looked forward to seeing the sport evolve so that a vibrant youth movement can be developed through the passing on of boatbuilding and sailing skills to a new generation of Bahamians so that the “legacy of those who have given so much for the development of the sport of regatta in The Bahamas will continue to grow”.
“We as a Ministry recognise and support the importance of the wonderful legacies left by our great sailors and that is why last year the legendary Captain Rolly Gray was inducted in the National Sports Hall of Fame,” Minister Bannister said. “In fact, this year’s Hall of Fame Calendar, he is Mr. July.
“All sailing organisations and regatta committees will find this Ministry supportive of your effort to develop the sport,” he added.