Nassau, The Bahamas – After years of producing some of the top athletes in the country, Moore’s Island is being ‘rewarded’ with a sporting facility – the first of its kind on the island. Officials of the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture visited the island on Thursday, July 12 to view the proposed site for the facility, which is located just two minutes south of the airport.
Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture, Hon. Daniel Johnson, who led the group to the island, said residents ‘truly’ deserve a facility of this kind in order to continue cultivating some of the finest athletes in the country.
“Consistent with the Prime Minister’s promise during the election period where he highlighted Moore’s Island as a really gifted athletic community and the work of Rev. Anthony Williams (Coach of the Moore’s Island Track Club) who has carried that community on ‘his back’ so to speak, we felt that it was necessary to bring this project to the island,” said Mr. Johnson.
The Minister said Rev. Williams has been a “pillar of strength” for the community; therefore, the Prime Minister sent this support delegation to the island to ensure that the plan that he has for Moore’s Island fits with the Moore’s Islanders before proceeding. He said that after the visit, a report would be submitted to Cabinet to begin the process of costing and implementation for the sports facility. He explained that this was a very well thought out project for Moore’s Island that is consistent with the needs of the community there.
“We know that sometimes central government has a ‘Nassau’ idea and drops it on an island but now we are actually going to have a conversation today to discuss how it is going to look and feel so that it fits with the future developmental plans for Moore’s Island,” he said. “We also wanted to highlight the achievements of this tiny little island community that has obviously done stuff that it way beyond their potential and we want to single out these Moore’s Islanders’ achievements as to what is possible for the sporting community of The Bahamas.”
Mr. Johnson said this project also signals a grander plan to market The Bahamas as a ‘first-world’ sports nation.
“We also wish to put out this idea that we are a first-world sporting nation. Based on our achievements per capita, we are in the top ranking in the world as a sports nation. We wish to be known as ‘the’ sports nation. We believe that this will help to uplift our youths because we know that all sports have rules. Rules force us to level the playing field – the same idea that was born out of majority rule in 1967. So in a funny, symbolic way, we are in Moore’s Island to level a field for them to play on but the idea is to reach the entire country through this concept of being a sports nation.”
During his visit, Minister Johnson also toured the home of Rev. Williams, where he boards members of the track club. In addition, he visited the training ground where the athletes train and practice. He also met with Moore’s Island residents including fishermen and families in the community.
Once approved by cabinet, the project is expected to commence in a few months and will cost approximately $1 million.
By Betty Vedrine
Bahamas Information Services
Officials at the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture (MOYS&C) stand on the proposed site for a new sporting facility on Moore’s Island, Abaco. Pictured L – R: Calvin Balfour, Undersecretary (MOYS&C); Whelma Colebrooke; John Schaeffer, Resident Engineer, Ministry of Works; Lillian Laing, Council Member; Nelson Stuart, Council Member; Benjamin Pinder, Administrator South Abaco; Hon. Daniel Johnson, Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture; Tommy Dames, Chief Councillor; Thomas Hield Deputy Chief Councillor and Reverend Anthony Williams, Coach, Moore’s Island Track Team.
(Photos courtesy of Tim Munnings, Director of Sports (MOYS&C).