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In defense of Bahamas Youth Football
Wednesday, 07 January 2009 15:31
Thank you for allowing me space to express my point of view with regards to an article in The Freeport News (January 7th, 2009) entitled the CFL Hits back.

If in fact Minister Bannister is awarding Federation Status to a newly forming Federation BFAF (Bahamas Federation of American Football), this is demonstrating a total disregard and disrespect to the already established and operational Federation BAFF/BYF (Bahamas American Football Federation/Bahamas Youth Football) which was endorsed by the same office under Minister Woodside! Minister Bannister is demonstrating, in my opinion, a blatant favouritism towards what occurs in New Providence and not truly working in the best interest of the entire Bahamas. If it is not established in Nassau than it does not exist in the Bahamas.

BAFF/BYF has for three (3) years been working diligently to establish, develop and grow the sport of American Football in the Bahamas, primarily Grand Bahama. The CAFL, which for years was nothing more than a puddle of stagnant mud, now wants to come forward and develop a new federation the BFAF (note the closeness in name to our BAFF, just for confusion perhaps?) clinging on the shirt tails of BAFF/BYF leg work and success. And yes I do say SUCCESS, because in a mere two seasons the BAFF/BYF is sending 75 young men from four (4) islands (Grand Bahamas, Bimini, Abaco and New Providence!) to play Internationally! Wow! Isn’t that’s amazing? No wander the CAFL wants to claim it, but this victory is our own and the only thing we are asking is respect, recognition and OUR NAME.

According to the Bahamas Sports Act, yes the Minister may ”by instrument in writing recognize any association as being the association officially representative of the interests of persons practicing any particular sport in the Bahamas.” This is indeed his right, but he must carry out this policy in cooperation with, “Before recognizing any association under subsection (1) of this section, the Minister shall satisfy himself that the association-(a) by virtue of its membership may properly be considered to be representative of the majority of clubs engaging in the particular sport.”

Minister Bannister, the last article I wrote regarding the Bahamas Youth Football (BYF) and the usage of the sports complex, you told me that you did not like propaganda, well Minister Bannister, if that is indeed the case then stop seeking it out. Grand Bahamians are sick tired of NOT being considered in the big scheme of things. We are tired of being overlooked and swept under the rug. We exist! We are not promoted or marketed the way we should be, we pay our taxes that go into the Treasury just like every other Island in this great Bahamas. We have been for way too long fostered out to the Port Authority to be raised, and contrary to popular belief, we are a part of this Bahamas.

As a parent of a BYF player for two (2) seasons, and a parent of a TEAM BAHAMAS player, we are soliciting and raising our own funds to send our 75 players to compete internationally with no support from our Government because we, the Grand Bahamian entity, does not exist as far as Minister Bannister is concerned.

We do exist, and we are fully recognized by the international Federation of American Football (IFAF) as the body to represent the Bahamas in international competitions, and not for two years as the article would have you believe but indefinitely. There is no other International Governing Body of the sport of American Football.

It is time for the People in New Providence and the Bahamas to RECOGNIZE that we GRAND BAHAMIANS no longer waiting our turn, not this time. We know our children are the future and we will not let any government stop them from achieving their dreams.

Come and see OUR young men off on January 22nd, as they leave to make history in the Bahamas and for the Bahamas and the world; to compete for the first (IFAF) Junior World Championship Tournament for the Pan-American Federation of American Football. Come watch and give support for the FIRST AND ONLY (for now at least) BLACK NATION to take part in the (IFAF), show our young men that you are proud for their efforts and achievements.
-Denise deGregory
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