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Merger talk

Kenmore Bynoe

Merger talk

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THE?WILDEY?Gymnasium, the National Sports Council (NSC) and Kensington Oval Management Inc. (KOMI) could be merged under one umbrella following Government’s review of statutory corporations.
Word of this came from Minister of Culture, Sport and Youth Stephen Lashley minutes after he addressed the opening ceremony for a seminar on drugs in sports for coaches at the NSC yesterday.  
Speaking against the backdrop of long-serving general manager of the Gymnasium, Ken Mason, being dismissed in December and the recent announcement that Erskine King, director of sport at the NSC, would be going on pre-retirement leave, Lashley said Government was looking at statutory bodies with a view to reducing duplication while amalgamating the duties and agencies to reduce overall costs.
“The Minister of Finance spoke to the need to review statutory companies . . . to see what measure can be used to merge or have a closer relationship.
“We are in the initial stages of looking at the fine-tuning, and therefore the filling of the position of general manager would have to be looked at in the context of the possibility of merging the Gymnasium with, for example, the Sports Council, KOMI or any relevant agencies.
“Those discussions are taking place now, so it is not something that will happen immediately but we are looking at it,” said Lashley.
While not saying that the filling of the positions would be kept on hold, Lashley suggested that both the Gymnasium and the NSC have structures in place for people to act in the positions of general manager and director of sport for the organizations to run effectively.
The minister, who has been praised for re-energizing the interest and playing of Barbados’ indigenous sport, road tennis, also touched on the situation where the finals of the NSC Inter-Parish Road Tennis Championships have been switched from the popular Dover Courts to Springer Memorial School in light of the high cost of using the 120-foot by 60-foot tent at Dover.
“We have seen where the weather impacted the tennis this year and we have to look seriously at covering some of the hard courts in the island within the framework of available resources,” he said.
Earlier, Lashley praised Pastor Victor Roach and the National Committee for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (NCPADD) on celebrating 25 years in the fight against drugs.
NCPADD?had coordinated the seminar at the NSC, presented by Dr June Caddle.
While outlining some of the legislation and committees which Government had established to help in the fight against illegal drugs, Lashley also spoke out against the wave sweeping the world with regard to the legalization of marijuana.
“I sincerely hope that Barbados does not jump on any bandwagon to legalize marijuana. In my view, to do so would not only be a betrayal of everything that we have been teaching our youth, but it would have devastating consequences as a whole,” he warned.