Basketballers out of Caribbeanbean Championships
January 30th, 2002
By Donald Duff - Stabroek News, June 29, 2002
Guyana’s participation at this year’s Verne Callwood senior Caribbean basketball championships hung by a slim thread yesterday even as officials of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation met late last evening for a final decision on the team’s participation.
The Guyana male and female teams named earlier, was scheduled to leave yesterday for the US Virgin Islands to participate in the 12-male and six female team tournament which runs until July 6 at the University of Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Centre and the Marin Centre at Antilles School in St Thomas.
But according to president of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) Godwin McPherson, the GABF encountered difficulties in trying to get the teams from Antigua to the US Virgin Islands.
McPherson explained that the only airline plying the route between Antigua and St Thomas was LIAT which was overbooked until Monday.
If the Guyana teams were to travel on Monday, McPherson said then the male team would miss two matches and the female team three.
McPherson said a decision was to be made last night at an emergency meeting to decide whether or not the teams should still attend the championships.
The GABF head said his association requested assistance in the form of three concessions from the Ministry of Sports which were (a) the waiver of government duty on the tickets; (b) the waiver of departure tax and (c) help from the Ministry of Sports in getting visas from the US embassy here for the local players.
McPherson said the Ministry of Sports wrote the Foreign Affairs Ministry and as a result six male members of the team were granted visas from the Consulate Division of the US Embassy in Kingston.
Unfortunately, McPherson said, the process did not reach the next two stages but he said he felt confident that the other areas where assistance was requested would have been met.
According to McPherson the estimated cost of getting the two teams to St. Thomas was US$20,000 but the GABF did not seek monetary assistance from the Ministry of Sport.
He said apart from providing airfare, the GABF was mandated by the Caribbean Confederation regulations to contribute the sum of US$30.00 per player to help offset the cost of accommodation, meals and internal transportation throughout the duration of the championships. The Guyana teams consisted of a number of overseas-based players.