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On Saturday, we sat down with Curtis Pride, newly elected president of The Bahamas Track and Field Coaches Association.
The association was founded in November of 1989 and some people think it has not lived up to its mandate. One thing that was noticed with the new president is his e-mail. It is firstname.lastname@example.org. The "serves" in the e-mail is a philosophy of life that the new president believes in. Here are the questions put to Pride and his answers. We failed to mention to him the performance incentives put in place some three years ago for coaches of junior athletes who win medals.
1. What has been your background in track and field as an athlete and a coach?
I was the first athlete from South Andros ever to make a junior national team, and win an international medal. I won the silver medal at CARIFTA then the gold medal at Junior CAC (Central American and Caribbean) in 1988, both in triple jump. As a full scholarship athlete for Morgan State University (MSU), I was a consistent medalist at the conference and regional level. I played a major role in helping Morgan win its first ever MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) men's championship title. Thereafter, I spent two years training and competing with an elite club before making the transition fully into coaching.
Coaching is the main reason I never maximized my athletic potential. Even as an athlete I was coaching. I could not help it. I was always concerned with helping others succeed. My passion for this was so strong I would help my competitors beat me, in competition. When the head coach at MSU asked me to become an assistant coach I did not hesitate to give up my competitive goals.
I served as an assistant coach at MSU and head coach of Dunbar High School in Baltimore before returning home. After returning home, I spent a short time at St. John's College before reviving the Ambassadors Athletic Club. After a few successful years of coaching under Ambassadors which included the honor of being named to serve as a coach with three junior national teams, I left coaching. I returned two years ago after more than six years away from the sport. I am now coaching again with Ambassadors and developing an elite training program.
2. The coaches association was formed in 1999 and Rupert Gardiner was elected as the first president. It has had some challenges since its inception. What made you decide to seek the leadership?
I was asked by some of my colleagues who recognized the need for the association and was searching for a leader who could re-structure and re-brand the organization in the best interest of all coaches and further advancement of the sport. At first I said no because the politics of the sport had contributed heavily to the long break I took from the sport, and It did not seem to align with my personal goals. However, as I listened and watched, the desire to help others succeed re-emerged. Our sport and coaches are faced with many challenges. Many of my colleagues want the same things I am seeking. We want athletic coaching to be recognized and respected as a vocation and equal opportunity to all. I decided to lead because I want to be integral in shaping the future of sports coaching in The Bahamas.
3. What are your goals as president?
As you noted above, the association faced many challenges since its inception. When we (the current executive board) looked at the history and the current realities of the association, three negatives are obvious: There has being no real continuity in the business of the association; the association has never earned much respect among the stakeholders of our sport, and it always seemed to be a club for a small group of "elite coaches" - an exclusive club.
In my short two-year term as president, I will lead the way toward three main goals focused on securing the future of the association. Please note that these are not my goals - they are 'our' goals. They are: to restructure the association to support athletics coaching as a vocation; to rebrand the association into a professional organization and to develop a five-year strategic plan to ensure proactive governance, productivity and growth.
4. We have a few coaches concentrating on long-distance running and field events. What does your association plan to do to rectify this?
We have already decided that both are primary areas of focus, but we're still in the process of planning what to do. We plan to engage the coaches concerned, to hear their needs and ideas before finalizing our plans. We do know though that the plan will include better recruitment of athletes, more resources and good incentives for throwing and distance coaches.
5. Is there anything you are excited about?
I'm excited about eight-year-old Ashely whose natural running abilities amaze me, 11-year-old Christian who despite a great physical challenge is transforming into an awesome athlete, the passion of Kelsey and Maya for running, the intensity of Juliette in competition, Angel and Vernique's commitment to learning, Brian who seems poised to jump farther than I did as a junior, Andretti and Zhivago and Francis who believe in my ability to prepare them for the 2016 Olympics. I am excited about the opportunity to help each of them succeed. Their potential and performances excited me.
6. Who are the other members of your executive committee?
Rupert Gardiner, 1st vice president; Felix Seymour, 2nd vice president; Jason Edwards, secretary general; Shaun Miller, treasurer; Greg Cash, assistant secretary general; and Fritz Grant, David Ferguson and Wendell Collie, board members.
7. What are your views and the association's views in education and training of coaches?
Both are the same. Education is important but it does not only result from studying theory. Experience gained through application is equally important. Individual coaches must continually seek education, and training/learning should never stop. Our association must standardize a learning pathway for its members toward ensuring a standard level of competency and accountability at each level of coaching. However, it must do all it can to facilitate development and training so it is available and affordable to all.
8. Mandate of the association should be to be inclusive of coaches throughout the entire Bahamas - all of New Providence and the Family Islands. Are this executive's plans any different from the former executive's plans?
I am not able to speak about the former plans because I have not ever seen any, but here's a part of the new plan: The empowerment of Family Island coaches is a priority in our strategic plan that's being developed. We will be mainly focused on educating and equipping at least one coach in all of the major Family Islands. We will also help facilitate and support a coaches association in Grand Bahama. This is a part of the responsibility that is being appointed to Felix Seymour (from Grand Bahama) who was elected to our executive board as 2nd vice president. We expect him to play a vital role in engaging his colleagues in the vision of the association. We also plan on actively engaging the Family Island rep who has already been appointed but not yet announced publicly in making sure the voice of all island coaches are heard, and their needs met. We will ensure that we have island participation in all our initiatives.
9. Financing is so important to any organization. It is no different for the coaches association. Will your association embark on anything different from the past?
We understand that there is an adequate amount of funds available through a number of local and international organizations that we can access. The challenge is gaining these organizations' trust by demonstrating good operations inclusive of financial integrity. We intend to achieve this. In addition, there are a number of opportunities to earn income for the association through fundraising and some special athletic events we plan to promote and manage. We are starting with very little but we will work hard and smart, to ensure that there's money in our account to fund the association's future work.
10. Most coaches in my opinion wish to be members of the national teams. What is your view on this?
This is true because it has become the culture and remains the main award for a coach's performance. Making a national team makes a coach feel successful and special. Not making the team makes one feel the opposite. If we didn't provide different ways to measure their performances, recognize their achievements and reward coaches for their service, many would decline coaching teams. It's not so easy for coaches with corporate careers and family responsibilities to travel.
11. How do you see the coaches association working with the BAAA?
In collaboration to do the following: promote coaching in The Bahamas so as to improve the quality of performance and the level of participation in track and field; encourage the accreditation, training and testing of persons to become qualified coaches and arrange for the proper regulation of such activities; develop the coaching of track and field within clubs, schools and any other institutions; safeguard the professional integrity and image of the association and its members and represent the interests of coaching and coaches in the decision-making processes affecting the association.
Thank-you so much and good luck!o Pride was busy on Saturday coaching athletes of the Ambassadors Track Club during the Fritz Grant Invitational, organized by the club.
Nassau, Bahamas -
Minister of Tourism, Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace met with the Bahamas
Sailing Association recently to pledge assistance and discuss long term
plans to support more sailing and marine events in the country.
As a country with 100,000 square miles of water, more emphasis should be taken place on these types of events.
Sailing Association is the governing authority for sailing in the
country. It is under the supervision of the International Sailing
Federation., and is also a member of the Bahamas Olympic Association.
The association has hosted a number of regattas and sailing events
which enhance the country's tourism...
Presidential candidate Iram Lewis and his slate of officers are hoping that the creation of a new athletes association, a rebirth of the existing coaches association, and an outline of a proposed complex for the office of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA), will be enough to push them over the edge in terms of being elected to office for the most successful sporting body in the country.
A national federation to oversee inter-scholastic activities on the high school level is the latest step being taken by the Ministry of Education toward developing and improving sports in the country.
Officials in the ministry are hoping to bring together the winners from the various sporting disciplines within the more than five associations, to compete in a tournament-style play and crown a national champion. The new federation should be in place by early next year, this according to Evan Wisdom, officer in charge of after-school sports in the ministry.
"One of the things we are looking at, is getting a national high school sports federation together," confirmed Wisdom. "We are looking at getting all of the stakeholders to the table first. The initial meeting will take place between all of the principals who are in charge of the associations. This is where the decision will be made, with regards to the formation of this body for inter-scholastic activities, at the high school level.
"Once we can get those principals and tell them our plan, that we want to host play for inter-scholastic activity at a championship level, then we will take it from there. I am sure everyone is well aware that ministers and other persons before us have tried to bring the leagues together. That is not going to happen. There are some logistical reasons as to why it won't happen. Plus there are some reasons with regards to principals feeling pressure from their own parents.
"What we are encountering is high school sports development. When the two leagues broke apart, what you had left was a void in national championships. Subsequent to that, some federations still held a national championships. Others had tried, but we are hoping to put everyone, again under one umbrella so we can have a mixture of championships in an organized fashion."
The basis upon which the federation will be formed is to develop and promote sports throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, taking into account particularities of each school sports association, to raise through this action, the general standard of each sport by allowing each association to play a more important role in the development and growth of school sports. There is also hopes to bring into reality a wide information and promotional campaign for sports at the school level in order to make sports better known, played and appreciated.
Wisdom is confident that the new formation will be beneficial to all parties involved, especially the student-athletes. He added: "I don't feel that it will hamper the progress, if we do get to bring the champions in each one of those leagues together. For example, we have the GSSSA, BAISS, small school champions and those in Freeport and the surrounding Family Islands. We know it will be difficult to bring them together under one league but we are exploring the many opportunities. We want to have a tournament-style play to decide who the champion is. Depending on the tournament, you probably have to invite the top three schools from each association.
"What we are looking to do firstly is to bring everyone to the table. That is going to take place very soon. All of those people will be included as stakeholders. There are five core sports, basketball, volleyball, track and field, softball and soccer. The most important thing we are trying to do is balance the sport. We find that imbalance throughout the system, and so we have to have equitable play throughout the system."
Ways to incorporate primary school sports into the equation are also being explored by Wisdom. In fact, the federation's structure has the Ministry of Education at top, Principals Association and the various high school sports associations next.
Listed under the Principals Association are the Association of Interscholastic Sports which is branched out to the department of primary school sports and high school sports. Stemming from the Bahamas High School Sports Federation is various committees of technical, refereeing, medical, disciplinary and commission boards.
In a press conference today the newly formed New Providence Contractors Association met with various local media outlets including NB12, JCN and the Tribune to officially announce their organization to the general public. The group which consisted of various leaders and general contractors in the construction industry voiced their concerns about a collection of matters including the proposed Contractors Bill now being pushed before the Government by The Bahamian Contractor Association.
There is a particular aspect of track and field in this country that makes, with continuity, a huge contribution to the national development of the sport of athletics.
I refer to The Bahamas Parents Association of Track and Field Athletes. This organization, headed by Harrison Petty, has been the bread-and-butter producer of track and field scholarships in the nation and has mightily assisted many athletes through sponsorships. Thus it has been vital to the success the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) claims.
To make the point for readers, I wish to submit some names: Leevan Sands, Sheniqua Ferguson, Derrick Atkins, Aaron Cleare and Trevor Barry. Each of the above has attained World Championships or Olympic medals or both, or has been a top international finalist.
Sands got a lot of early support from the association. He went on to win bronze medals at two World Championships and the 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medal as well.
Sheniqua Ferguson, like Sands, enjoyed meaningful sponsorship from the association. She is one of the rising female sprinters in the world and was a part of the 2009 World Championships Bahamian silver medal winning sprint relay squad.
Atkins is the fastest Bahamian ever and the only Bahamian sprinter to run sub-10 seconds. His national record is 9.91 and he has also registered a legal 9.98. Add to that a wind-aided 9.86 and a 9.83 and he stands head and shoulders above every other Bahamian sprinter in times recorded. He was a direct scholarship recipient through the parents association. So were Aaron Cleare and Trevor Barry.
Cleare was one of the quality quarter-milers who helped to establish the country's legacy in the 1,600 meters relay. He was on the Bahamian team that placed sixth in the 1,600 meters relay final at the Athens Olympic Games.
Barry is Mr. Consistent. For a long time, he competed in the shadows of fellow Bahamian Donald Thomas, the former World Champion, Commonwealth Games champion and Pan American Games champion. However, Barry's bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships cemented him as one of the top high jumpers in the world.
The aforementioned athletes head a long list of young Bahamian boys and girls who have been afforded scholarships to institutions in the United States by the parents association, and accordingly, opportunities to expand their horizons through education and sports.
In the general scheme of things, the National Sports Academy, proposed by Prime Minister Perry Christie, will succeed only if it finds a way to bring such successful programs into the fold. I suggest that a meaningful path should be found to include such progressive and independent entities into the overall National Sports Academy structure.
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
Change is needed in the Bahamas Bar Association -- effective, positive change, change you can believe in. My proven leadership can deliver that change. I would be grateful for your support. If I receive your support on Friday, 24 June (today), I will take immediate steps to bring about that change.
The Bar is under threat from the outside and from within.
From the outside, there are many challenges. For example, mortgage institutions have imposed the arbitrary requirement of an inordinately huge amount of professional indemnity insurance, for no apparent reason but to eliminate a wide swath of lawyers from their arbitrary lists of persons to do mortgage work. A reasonable amount of indemnity insurance is of course justified. But, the required insurance policy is so large, and its cost so high, that it bears no resemblance to the work they might send you, and the requirement is patently a discriminatory, exclusionary, anti-competition measure based not in the slightest extent on the lawyer's competence, skill or acumen in doing mortgages.
Therefore, if you give me the opportunity, I will seek to:
o Improve access by lawyers to commercial work, notably mortgages, and reduce and rationalize professional indemnity restrictions on such work, by meeting with the mortgage institutions for this purpose, as I successfully did in the past.
o Reduce the cost of professional indemnity insurance by requiring insurance companies to bid or compete once again on a policy promoted by the Bar Association. I was hugely successful in the past in using the strength of our numbers in this way, and this should be renewed, in order to make such insurance more affordable.
From within, some 'lawyers' do not really know what it is to be a lawyer, or if they do, they certainly do not apply the core values of the profession, such as integrity and honesty. The complaints are well known, and sometimes so are the rotten apples. We must credibly and strictly uphold the obligations of the profession. A greater amount of resources ought to be devoted to institutionalizing, effectively implementing, and refashioning the ethics machinery, even beyond the yeoman efforts of so many persons on the ethics committee and disciplinary tribunal in the past, and providing continuing professional ethics instruction.
From within, the threats are the lack of vision, being reactive, uninformed and in a state of drift, and the general failure to be proactive. In some other jurisdictions, at stake is the self regulation of the profession itself. Lawyers are not to be treated as accountants, bankers and insurance agents. The difference is that lawyers are critical to the existence of the Rule of Law. But, obligations come with the opportunity to be a lawyer, and the profession must be seen to carry out those obligations.
For example, in Canada, the Federation of Law Societies has already implemented what I have long advocated for The Bahamas. As regulator, it is the Federation which monitors law firms there, and not a governmental Compliance Commission. Legal professional privilege is preserved, as the Federation monitors firms under the cloak of legal professional privilege. I spoke with the President of the Federation about three weeks ago, and he offered his cooperation. If given the opportunity, I would implement a solution to our long outstanding litigation in the Glinton, Esfakis case, and would propose legislation reflecting much of what has been done in Canada.
Therefore, I will:
o Take proactive steps to resolve the litigation over legal professional privilege and to support the obligations and self regulation of the profession.
o Establish a no-cash rule for lawyers. Lawyers are not bankers. Large amounts of cash, say in excess of $5,000, should not be accepted from clients by lawyers. Again, the useful existing Canadian model would be adapted.
o Expand the role of the Ethics Committee and provide a sound, efficient infrastructure for it.
From within, it is delusional to believe that generalists alone can properly service a world class financial centre. It is important to have specialists, and additional strategic training opportunities, in trusts, foundations, securities, arbitration, and other specialist fields.
Therefore, I will implement:
o Practical skills training for lawyers in Nassau and Freeport, e.g., advocacy with the Bar Council of England and Wales, the Inns of Court and other institutions, and in other specialist commercial practice areas.
o The practising certificate, completion of amendments to Legal Profession Act regulations and complementary provisions.
o Start additional practice sections in addition to the Real Estate Section.
I will also take steps to:
o Establish a pension plan for the Bar.
o Purchase a building for the Bar Association in connection with the pension plan. If an investment of more than $1 million will be made in a building (including consideration, stamp duty, improvements), as suggested at the last extraordinary meeting of the Bar, a viable business plan should be prepared, and there should be clarity on key elements, such as who or what entity should hold the title.
It is also important not to be Nassau-centric and to fully involve lawyers in Freeport and the Family Islands in the affairs and governance of the Bar.
The Bar must also seriously and systematically take up its responsibility to do pro bono work, and to ensure that the government fully carries out its responsibility to provide legal aid. People are hurting, and the current economic conditions require an increase in the availability of legal aid. This year is the eleventh year of the regular empowerment clinics I hold with the support of the churches in the Kemp Road, Fox Hill, and Blue Hill Road areas. We must also support the good work being done by the Eugene Dupuch Law School Legal Aid Clinic.
From within, the threat is the failure to see the big picture. The Bar is a major institution in our society and a pillar of our freedom. We are charged to protect the independence of the judiciary, human rights and the Rule of Law. There are no independent judges without independent lawyers.
What will and should the Bar look like in 5, 10, 25 years? What steps should we take now to achieve those goals?
o Have more conferences here and closer relations with international organizations, e.g., OCCBA, UIA, IBA, WJA, IABA, CLA, BFSB, STEP.
o Use my experience, notably as the Chair of one of the two divisions of the IBA (Professional and Public Interest Division), to help build the Bahamas Bar Association.
o Raise the profile of the BBA as one of the leading bar associations worldwide. We used to be the leading Bar in the region; we can regain and surpass that to become one of the leading Bars worldwide.
My Action Plan which not only sets out specific goals as a framework to deal with the issues confronting the profession, but also lists the above and additional proposals.
The above major challenges face us as a profession. We must be ready to successfully meet and resolve those challenges, and prepare the Bahamas Bar Association for the future.
Therefore, I ask for your vote or proxy to elect me as President of the Bahamas Bar Association in the elections on Friday, June 24, 2011.
The Police Staff Association (PSA) may be poised for a new election after several of its executive members were promoted.
According to the Royal Bahamas Police Staff Association Act, a police officer ceases being a PSA board member if that officer no longer holds the rank that he or she did when elected, or if he or she is no longer a member of the force. The association held its annual election back in January, however seven board members received promotions over the last week.
PSA Chairman Dwight Smith was promoted from the rank of sergeant to inspector last week. According to him, this creates a unique problem for the association, which must decide if it has to call fresh elections, and when, in light of the promotions. He said the laws which govern the association state that he cannot demit office until there is an election.
Smith noted that while some on the force are calling for him to quickly vacate office, he said he will not give into the "selfish" desires of a few and leave the organization vulnerable.
"These were persons who wanted to get into the association and did not get in by way of election. They are not just going to jump in here," he said yesterday. "I just can't demit office because some are saying 'you have to leave immediately'. Who do I hand over to? I sit as the chairman on some international boards, you have to properly hand that over. I cannot be distracted by those small-minded people who are only looking out for their interests."
He said the association is also in consultation with its legal team on the issue.
Smith added that the PSA is also in the process of drafting new by-laws to address what he sees as deficiencies in the rules that govern the organization.
"There is nothing in writing; I have to make sure I put these things in writing in our by-laws. Then I have to forward that to the commissioner of police and then to the minister of national security, so that they can be in our laws. There is always a process," Smith said.
In addition to Smith, four constables were promoted to the rank of corporal, and two corporals were promoted to the rank of sergeant, during the last round of promotions in the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
In January, Smith was re-elected as the PSA's chairman.
Last week the RBPF announced the promotions of 106 senior policemen. The news came a few days after it was revealed that 206 officers also moved up the force's ranks.
William R. Dames of The Bahamas American Association Incorporated (BAAI), New
York, formerly The Nassau Bahamas Association, New York, has announced plans
for the celebration of the
100th Anniversary of the
Association. The highlight of the 100th
Anniversary celebrations will be a Gala Grand Ball, to be held this
15 September 2012 at the famous Astoria World Manor, Astoria, New York.
BAAI, a fraternal Bahamas American Association, is proud to be the successor of
the Nassau Bahamas Association, one of the oldest fraternal associations in the
State of New York. The Association was founded 17 September 1912 by 10 Bahamian
men, who had made the United States their new home...