As the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, I am obligated to respond to remarks attributed to long time sailing enthusiast and Commodore, Rev. Phillip McPhee, in an article which appeared in this morning’s edition of the Nassau Guardian’s Sports Section, captioned “Government Not Serious about Regattas.” In this instance, Rev. McPhee is alleged to have levelled criticisms at this Ministry at large, the National Regatta Committee, the Regatta Unit of this Ministry and indeed the Government of The Bahamas, citing their lack of passion for Regattas and that more money should be allocated to regattas.
Exception is taken to such an unfair criticism by Rev. McPhee since as an employee of this Ministry, he has easy access to this office as well as that of my Minister and any recommendations or advice that he would care to offer would certainly be entertained, given his unquestioned knowledge of regattas and their economic impact on the various Island communities hosting them. He is also aware of the existing financial constraints under which all public and private agencies are now compelled to operate.
In spite of such a globally financial challenging environment, this Ministry has nevertheless continued to partner with committees representing every major and some smaller communities throughout the Islands of The Bahamas to ensure that they all experience the economic benefits of these home coming festivals which provide such a significant financial stimulus in those communities. In some instances these events are the only major economic activity upon which residents have come to rely.
Reverend McPhee would also have been aware of this Ministry’s sustained financial support provided to the Bahamas Sailing Association for the development of young Opti Class sailors, boys and girls from New Providence, Harbour Island, Abaco, Grand Bahama, Long Island and Eleuthera who represent the very future of sailing and regattas in The Bahamas.
Similarly, the Ministry funded its Annual Summer Youth Sailing Programme which serves to introduce scores of young persons from public and private schools to this indigenous sport, another example of the dedication and commitment of this Ministry to expand the economic benefits of regattas throughout the Islands of The Bahamas.
Reverend McPhee is therefore kindly invited to trust in his engagement with this Ministry and that the status of the only indigenously Bahamian sport will retain its priority with this public agency for the foreseeable future. Further, Mr. McPhee is invited at his leisure to sit with me to discuss the many plans that this ministry has formulated to grow this exciting and time honoured sport.