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Not this time

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

Not this time

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Barbados will not be stepping in to host the 2011 CARIFTA Games if another country is unable to meet its obligations as has been done in the past.
This from Esther Maynard, president of the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA), as the clock ticks down on the annual meet which is scheduled to be held at Easter next year. To date, no country has officially come forward, after St Kitts indicated they were no longer in a position to stage the games.
The brainchild of Barbados’ International Olympic Committee member Austin Sealy, the CARIFTA Games have been held every year since 1972. Barbados has stepped in on several occasions when other countries were unable to do so, the last time being 1997 when The Bahamas fell short.
Maynard said with the prevailing economic climate, and the way CARIFTA had evolved, it would be too difficult a financial undertaking. Equally important, Barbados’ track is unfit to host international meets. It has been earmarked for replacement, but that has been slow in coming.
“It will be very difficult to get the track in time for CARIFTA because the track alone, the material, takes three months to manufacture. You have obviously shipping time, laying time, marking time and there still has been no firm commitment yet on the financing,” Maynard told NATIONSPORT.
Maynard was also concerned about the impact on the Barbadian athletes.
“Not only that, we don’t want to have CARIFTA without the preparation of the athletes. If the track is out of use until right before CARIFTA, it wouldn’t be fair to them,” she added.
She did reveal that Jamaica were exploring its options and had received support from the
Council of the North America, Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) Athletic Association if they were to come forward.
NACAC president Neville “Teddy” McCook has reportedly been in discussion with hoteliers in Jamaica’s northern city of Montego Bay, the proposed site.
“Jamaica is looking at hosting and they are looking at Montego Bay, but nothing has come out, like an official statement. NACAC is supportive of Jamaica hosting, but the final arrangements would have to come from Jamaica,” Maynard said.
Earlier this year, then NSC chairman Henry Inniss indicated that Barbados should have a new track in time for the National Championships in June. However, that same month, Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley said the track should be ready by December.  
“The ministry . . . is also pressing ahead with plans to ensure that the National Stadium athletic track is replaced to satisfy international standards and to provide our athletes with fitting conditions to assist with their preparations.  
“It is quite an extensive project but we are focused on its completion in time for the 2011 athletic season in December,” Lashley said during the Presentation of Colours for the Central American and Caribbean and Commonwealth Games at Hilton Barbados.
To date, no work has started on the track. Attempts to contact Lashley yesterday were futile.