Having read the unfortunate post from one of our local talented athletes Ms. Tatiana Illis Bell (image above). It leaves me with a few questions:
1. What is the total sum of money collected thus far from the 1 cent per litre of gasoline and diesel, which are to benefit sports on the island?
On May 26, 2022, there was a press release in our media highlighting the approval of a proposal that was supposed to help fund sports on the island.
2. If funds have been collected through this proposal, then the question is, what have those funds been used for?
3. How much if any of the collected funds are left on the budget?
On June 15th, 2023, a press release appeared in the media, stating that our Honourable Minister of Sport is traveling to Berlin, which leaves me with some more questions.
4. Besides the Minister, how many persons from his Cabinet or Ministry traveled?
5. How much did this trip cost our taxpayers?
It is a shame that our athletes are missing out on opportunities due to the lack of vision and mismanagement of funds.
We recently had a basketball tournament, where there was some controversy pertaining to a personal donation made by a Minister. Meanwhile, We are seeing other Ministers hurrying to fix basketball courts.
Yes it is campaign time and you will see these things, but it has me asking some further questions:
6. Are we not one Government at the moment?
7. Why are some Ministers bypassing the Minister responsible for Sport and doing their own thing?
8. Why are we not seeing a unified government working with each other?
9. Are our personal needs to shine greater than helping our athletes long term?
The unfortunate truth is, that what Ms. Tatiana is experiencing, has been going on for years. We are quick to see politicians share, like, and love posts of our athletes when they perform well or accomplish milestones. But those same politicians are silent or quick to pass the blame on why funding is not available.
Our coaching staff, athletes, parents, and business community have been the reason that our athletes have been able to accomplish so much despite the lack of support from our government.
The times are changing, and St.Maarten has too many local talents who can become great. We need to invest in our athletes, and if it means that we forego or sacrifice the cost of our Ministers not traveling, in order to financially support our athletes to travel, then I am all for that.