WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18: I was present on each day of the Carifta Games. I enjoyed watching disciplined young Bermudians excel at what they are good at, and win their Golds, Silvers, and Bronzes. In June 2011, I was at the NatWest Small Island Games on the Isle of Wight. I saw Bermudian athletes and teams wrap themselves in the Bermuda flag as they took to the stands to collect their Golds, Silvers, and Bronzes.
In past years, other disciplined individuals have done their best and won against stiff international competition.
Nicky Saunders, Brian Wellman, Tyler Butterfield, Mike Watson, Teresa Perozzi… Standing above all of these is Bermuda’s sole Olympic medallist — bronze medal winner Clarence Hill.
There is a lot right with the scores of young Bermudians who discipline themselves and put in the thousands of long lonely hours that finally get them to the start line before blasting through to a medal-winning performance. I applaud them.
But I take an oleander switch to the politicians and smooth-talking ‘suits’ who deny our best performers a higher level of taxpayer funding for their activities, while pouring away millions on teams and team sports filled with undisciplined people and actors who either embarrass Bermuda or who simply provide international comedic relief.
In FY 2012/13, the Bermuda Track & Field Association gets $155,000. The Bermuda Football Association gets $1,000,000 (*see note).
With its disciplined young people, the BTFA competes internationally and harvests medals — seven Golds in this just completed Carifta series. The BFA has difficulty assembling a good national team that can even step off Bermuda soil and just kick ball in another country.
The individual athletes in the BTFA and other sports put in thousands of hours of individual practice. The individuals who are supposed to represent Bermuda in international football games have a decades-old record of not putting in the same quality of practice effort — for either their club teams or the National Team.
On top of that, the Bermuda National Football Team was the nationally backed group representing Bermuda that earned the sobriquet “Miami Seven” after being caught with illegal drugs.
Bermuda’s National Cricket Team is another taker of tax money. Like the football team, it has a history of poor performance and a habit of inadequate practice. The team was most recently engaged in burning through a wad of taxpayers money in a cricket tournament in Dubai.
This year, the Bermuda Cricket Board with its generally unfit, loath-to-practise, and non-winning team members gets $800,000. The medal-winning Bermuda Amateur Swimming Association with its well-disciplined hard-practising gold medal winning swimmers gets $100,000.
Overall, that’s $1,800,000 for two non-performers; and a measly $255,000 for two performers.
With the nice suits, softly spoken words, and earnest and practised looking into the camera by today’s (and yesterday’s) Ministers for Sport, this Government is behaving the same as the previous Government. The previous Government acted crassly when it ignored boxer Clarence Hill’s huge success and rejected Bermuda’s only Olympic medallist. Bermuda’s only Olympic Medal is something that should have been nationally secured, treated as a national treasure, and kept on show to inspire future generations. Today, that Olympic medal can’t even be found.
As shown by its 2012/13 funding decisions, this administration betrays all the fluffy stuff that its Sports Ministers spout. By starving success and excessively rewarding failure, poor performance, and indiscipline, today’s Sports Ministers show themselves to be the same kind of mountebanks as those Ministers of long ago who turned their backs on that Olympic bronze, and rejected the idea of supporting Olympic medallist Clarence’s idea of a national boxing program. A program like that could have had more of the kind of success that Teresa Perozzi has had.
Wasting money by throwing millions of taxpayer dollars at the team sports of football and cricket should stop now. It rewards their indiscipline and failure.
Cut football funding by 50 percent. Cut cricket funding 75 percent. Leave enough to help the Nahki’s, Shauns, and Parfitts of today and tomorrow.
Take $290,000 as savings (*see note). Re-allocate the remaining $810,000 amongst the highly disciplined people in the BTFA, BASA, Bermuda Gymnastics Association, Bermuda Amateur Boxing Association, and others who are so much more deserving.
Stop feeding and funding failure while creating flowery excuses for this financial fertilizing. Reward discipline. Promote success.
*In 2012, of every $100 spent by Government, $16 is borrowed. So Government is borrowing money to throw it away on the BFA and BCB.