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CBC-bound players miss camp
T&T women’s basketball team, which was scheduled to leave today for a pre-tournament camp in Puerto Rico in preparation for the Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championships, has been grounded because of a lack of funds. The CBC tournament will take place from August 3-7 in the Bahamas. According to Courtney Mc Nish, president of the National Basketball Federation T&T (NBFTT), the federation is in a financial crisis and will be challenged to attend both next month’s CBC Championships and the Central America and Caribbean (CAC) Games which will be held in Mexico in October. In a television interview with CNC3, Mc Nish said the funds which the Federation hold are to facilitate salaries and manage the cost of zonal competitions as well as other miscelleanous expenses. “We’ve been advised by our primary or sole benefactor, which is the Sport Company of T&T, which is funded by the Ministry of Sport, that our allocations for this fiscal year have been zipped.
“For example, when we started this effort, our allocation balance was $1.6 million, so we were working on that balance,” said McNish. “We were then advised one and a half weeks ago that our total allocation for the rest of the year is $300,000... so we saw a cut by $1.3 million. “If the Ministry of Sport doesn’t have the funds or if there were allocations available, it has been sucked up, dried up, taken away—I am not too sure, but we moved from having an allocation balance of $1.6 million. At the beginning of the fiscal year we were advised that our allocation for this year was three million. That was subsequently cut to 2.5 million,” Mc Nish explained.
“After we treated with issues in our programmes and some of our expenditures for the previous year, at the beginning of this year, we had a balance in our allocation of $1.6 million... and suddenly to hear now that, that has been cut from $1.6 million to $300,000, then you might as well not have a structured system for a sport like this.” “In this country, unless the government finds, or all the stakeholders find some other mechanism, there will continue to be a reliance on state funding. And that (sport) is in fact an investment that the government is making,” he said. McNish admitted that pulling out of a tournament in which plans and fixtures have already been set, may well result in a fine, ban any or all of which may have serious repercussions in respect to the country’s image. The national women’s team was scheduled to meet Cuba in the tournament opener on August 3.
“If T&T does not appear, then FIBA Americas will certainly penalise us financially, we will get a heavy fine we may even be banned or sanctioned, we may not be able to partake in the tournament for another two years.” McNish revealed that all the expenses which the Federation was committed to have to be paid since those services were already delivered. He described the situation as a natural embarrassment to the country, the government and all stakeholders in basketball. “None of those activities will or can be accomplished if the $300,000, which we were just advised is available, is not reviewed,” said Mc Nish. Mc Nish was appointed president of the NBFTT in August last year.
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