Nandi Outerbridge, Minister of Social Development and Sports, today [April 18] congratulated the Bermudian athletes competing in the 46th Flow Carifta Games in Curaçao and the Carifta Swimming Championships in the Bahamas.
Minister Outerbridge said, “Our young Bermudian athletes have truly shown that they punch above their weight in international competitions. Competing against much larger countries, our athletes have performed at the highest level and secured an impressive haul of gold, silver and bronze medals.
“Our swimming team has been particularly impressive in the pool, winning 28 medals including 6 gold, far surpassing last year’s performance of 21 medals.
“The track and field team has also had a great performance, winning two bronze medals against very tough competition with many athletes achieving personal bests. High jumper Sakari Famous accomplished an incredible feat of winning her fifth straight medal at the games and Tiara DeRosa won the other medal in the under-20 discus, setting a personal best.
“I look forward to welcoming the team back home and celebrating their achievements and encourage the public to come out and support our young athletes. They have made Bermuda proud.
“I also look forward to working with the Bermuda National Athletics Association on Bermuda’s bid to host the 2020 Carifta Games.
“Of concern is the Opposition’s suggestion that a lottery be established to support our athletes. This idea is misguided for several reasons. The idea of a national lottery has been explored by the Government and the cons far outweigh the pros. A lottery is widely accepted as a tax on the poor in that people less able to afford tickets will buy them in the false hope that they will win against incredible odds.
“In addition, with a population as small as Bermuda’s, the costs of establishing, regulating and running a lottery would leave a limited pool to be paid out in winnings. Any money dedicated to funding sports teams would be very limited.
“The Opposition’s statement is nothing more than political posturing – putting forward a carelessly conceived idea that will have a negative impact on the Bermudians who can least afford it.
“Through the recent Cash Back for Communities programme, the OBA Government took the proceeds from crime and directed those funds towards empowering our athletes, enabling them to compete against the best in the Caribbean. By working to improve government finances and eliminate the deficit, we will be in a better position to assist our athletes in the near future.”