Sporting associations and federations in Barbados will have to wait a while longer to use the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex as that facility continues to remain closed to the hosting of competitions.
Representatives from associations and federations are not satisfied that after putting protocols in place and being given the green light to resume sporting activity, they are still unable to use the gymnasium.
During a meeting held by the National Sports Council last night at the gymnasium, representatives of various sporting bodies were informed of the council’s plans for sports going forward.
However, Barbados TODAY was informed that the associations also received the disappointing news that there are still no protocols as yet for the playing of sport at the gymnasium.
“The National Sports Council does not have any protocols for the usage of the gymnasium for sports as it stands. Their protocols right now stand for meetings only, they don’t have any protocols for sports.
“So, they are telling the sporting organisations that what they need to do is come up with their own protocols, send them to the sports council, then it goes on to the COVID monitoring unit to get ratified. Basically, they are saying they don’t have protocols for their own building which is madness,” one credible source told Barbados TODAY on condition of anonymity.
The source added: “Sports council is basically saying only one sport (volleyball) technically has been given permission to start which is wrong. If you are following the protocols, all sports can restart but obviously, you have to put your protocols in place.”
It is understood that the reason volleyball was granted permission is that they sent their protocols to Czar Richard Carter.
“I went to the meeting that the Czar had and going from what the Czar said you put your protocols in place, you monitor your protocols and if you have a problem contact the monitoring unit and let them come and verify which I don’t have a problem with.
“It is not a pretty sight where you have a building for sports and you are saying you only have protocols in place for meetings. No, that is wrong. And look at the gymnasium like a restaurant more or less, how am I going to go to your restaurant and tell you what your protocols are? You should be telling me what your protocols are at your restaurant,” the source explained.
Another credible source at the meeting who asked not to be identified stated that another major concern was the fact that sporting associations were still not clear as to who was responsible for giving clarification to their protocols.
A few weeks ago, Carter assured that sports could resume once the associations and federations adhered to the protocols set out by the government. Carter had spoken during a session put on by the Barbados Volleyball Association.
“Sporting federations are not fully clear as to who gives you the clarification to your protocols. And then some persons were saying they would have submitted their protocols and it is taking a while for them to get the okay from whichever entity that is charged with saying yes.
“The major crux of the matter came whereby even though federations are given the go-ahead after they have gone through and got their protocols cleared, they still cannot access the use of the gymnasium. It doesn’t seem the gymnasium has their protocols and even if they have their protocols, they haven’t allowed the federations to come back in and utilise the space.
“There are no clear pathways as to how or when. So nobody is given any clear details. What was suggested and I totally agree with, the Gymnasium Limited should have a set of protocols, federations have their own sports-specific protocols and then their sports-specific protocols would have to adjust to what the National Sports Council needs to be done to utilise their space,” the source said.
Another matter the associations are unhappy about is the fact that since the Government has eased restrictions, there have been a few mass meetings that have taken place at the gymnasium. For the sporting bodies who are eagerly looking forward to using the venue, they described it as disheartening.
“If the gymnasium’s policy is not to have spectators well then I would have to adjust my sport to that. But they haven’t given any guidelines on how to utilise the space.”
Besides sharing their dissatisfaction about being unable to use the gymnasium, the associations and federations are pleased so far with the NSC’s development plans for sports in Barbados.
“They rolled out a pretty decent plan, I liked the direction they are going in. It needs some tweaking, I am certain the board will seek feedback because a number of federations had questions. But the professionalisation of it is a step in the right direction. The conversation certainly needs now to be a little more streamlined as to if what they want to be delivered can be delivered,” the second official indicated. Efforts to reach NSC director Neil Murrell were unsuccessful up to publication time.