The Bahamian delegation to Cuba included from left, Director of Sports Tim Munnings; Evon Wisdom from the sports unit of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Acting Permanent Secretary Calvin Balfour; Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson; National Sports Academy Committee Chairman D’Arcy Rahming, and National Sports Academy Committee Member Fred Sturrup.
By Fred Sturrup
NASSAU, Bahamas -- A section of the preamble to the agreement for sports cooperation between Cuba and The Bahamas notes that the two countries are “inspired by the desire of promoting bilateral relations in the field of sports and physical education in view of strengthening the co-operation and mutual understanding between the parties, upon the basis of the friendship relations” that join them.
This means generally, that from the point onward of the signing of the agreement two Tuesdays ago in Havana, Cuba, there will be intense networking between Cuba and The Bahamas with sports development and education as the double focus. Without question, the evolution of the relationship that led to the high point of the signing will be quite beneficial to The Bahamas. Dr Daniel Johnson, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, who headed the Bahamian delegation to Cuba, lavished praise on the Cuban sports/education development system.
He likened it as a “cradle to the grave” national undertaking. Expressing great enthusiasm over the signing, Minister Johnson praised the zeal of the Cubans in nurturing the youth of the nation.
“What they (Cubans) have been doing for a lot of decades is incredible. Their sense of fundamental training, with equal emphasis on sports development and academics, has been astounding. They are presently working on an 80-year program of development. Man, that’s a cradle to the grave perspective.
“It’s wholesome and geared to provide the best possible opportunities for development in sports and education. This signing is the beginning of something huge for us in The Bahamas. We can’t say enough to emphasize how important this cooperation agreement will be for the youth of our country,” said the minister.
Roberto Leon Richards Aguiar, First Vice President of the Institute of Sports and Recreation (INDER), stood in for President Julio Christian Jimenez Molina. He expressed elation also and noted that the signing was of mutual benefits to the countries.
“As we cooperate and network, both countries will benefit,” said Richards Aguiar.
For The Bahamas, it will be making use of the best trainers and feeding off one of the best development systems in the world. Available to The Bahamas as of the signing, were the opportunities to apply to the Cuban Government for coaching, and training assistance in all disciplines. Some of the key areas to be concentrated on via the agreement are “organization of programs, sports equipment and facilities, formation and upgrading of coaches and specialists, academic exchange, sports medicine, sports for all, anti-doping control and sports management.”
A total of 10 articles form the basis of the agreement that is for five years with an option for an extension of another five years. Whereas the agreement will enable The Bahamas to greatly upscale its development in sports/education, the biggest area of benefits for Cuba will be the funds agreed upon for the services to be provided as that country’s part of the bargain.
The delegation spent three days in Cuba, and attended a series of meetings with officials and coordinators of various departments within the Cuban Sports Academy. Traveling along with Minister Johnson, were Acting Permanent Secretary Calvin Balfour, Director of Sports Tim Munnings, Director of Sports for the Ministry of Education Science and Technology Evon Wisdom, National Sports Academy Committee Chairman D’Arcy Rahming and Sports Academy Committee Member Fred Sturrup.
The group flew to Cuba on Sunday, September 22 and the meetings were concluded on Wednesday, September 25. On Monday, Minister Johnson made the official announcement of the signing during a press conference at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian