‘Dawn of a new era’- Sport Minister hails new leadership at GOA


The continued advancement of sport to heights never before achieved in Guyana took another giant leap forward when the new executive committee of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Culture Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr. at the Ministry’s Boardroom on Wednesday.

This meeting took place mere hours after the new President, Godfrey Munroe, and his executive were elected at the GOA’s Electoral General Meeting (EGM) on Tuesday evening at Olympic House, Liliendaal.

The EGM saw sweeping changes being made by the affiliates of the GOA, who elected Munroe, a former Junior Vice-President, as the new President by a 31-4 margin over head of the Guyana Baseball League, Robin Singh.

Other members of the GOA Executive who will run the Association until 2025 are Vice-Presidents Cristy Campbell, Phillip Fernandes and Steve Ninvalle.

Vidushi Persaud-McKinnon gained the nod to serve as the new Secretary-General while Emelia Ramdhani takes up the post of Assistant Secretary-General.

Garfield Wiltshire retained the position of Treasurer unopposed, while Michael Singh was elected Assistant Treasurer.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Charles Ramson Jr. (right) and new President of the GOA, Godfrey Murnoe (Photo: News Room/Avenash Ramzan/March 22, 2023)

In welcoming and congratulating the new executive committee, Minister Ramson Jr. posited that it is “the dawn of a new era in sport with the potential to become a golden era.”

Munroe takes over the helm of the overarching body for sport in Guyana from former President K.A. Juman-Yassin, who held the position for almost three decades.

Juman-Yassin could not seek re-election as a result of the IOC recommending an age limit of 70 years for functioning executive members. Juman-Yassin is 76 years old.

The new committee was assured of full support from Minister Ramson Jr., his Ministry, the National Sports Commission and the Government of Guyana.

From left: Chairman of the National Sports Commission Kashif Muhammad and two of the new GOA Vice-Presidents Cristy Campbell and Steve Ninvalle (Photo: News Room/Avenash Ramzan/March 22, 2023)

Minister Ramson Jr. also shared his thoughts with the new body on how he sees the partnership between the two entities progressing, indicating that a good governance structure is important to rebuild and maintain the confidence of all the stakeholders and supporters.

Discussions were also had on short and medium-term goals and objectives of the body, striving for excellence in the various disciplines which must be the paramount aim.

The body was reminded that the task would not be an easy one in re-positioning Guyana in the sporting world and being one of the leading nations in the region, but was assured that the Government of Guyana is extremely committed to the achievement of the shared objective of Guyana becoming a powerhouse in sport.

“We also want to have our athletes wear the medals and hear our national anthem and fly the flag,” Ramson Jr. told the executives.

From left: GOA executives Garfield Wiltshire, Emelia Ramdhani and Godfrey Munroe (Photo: News Room/Avenash Ramzan/March 22, 2023)

The minister underscored that a strong working and harmonious relationship and cohesion between the entities is vital with regard to lifting sport in Guyana.

“If you don’t have a strong collaborative relationship, it simply would not work in terms of the ability to achieve your goal. What’s important as far as I’m concerned is that we identify what are our objectives and we also identify our plan.”

He also noted that President Irfaan Ali and the Government of Guyana are committed to ensuring that athletes receive all the required support to excel on the national, regional and international stages.

“So, that’s something that we’re committed to because that’s something that we want to see happen for all.”

GOA executives Vidushi Persaud-McKinnon (left) and Philip Fernandes (Photo: News Room/Avenash Ramzan/March 22, 2023)

Accountability was another area Minister Ramson rapped the new body on, noting that it is of utmost importance that the body ensures it makes this a priority whilst guaranteeing that its affiliates also adhere to this important pillar.

“Those financial statements that we are requiring from associations, they all form part of the governance framework of accountability. When you are meeting with the government and the government is saying that this is a good organisation and that it is a credible organisation, it is so that you can get additional support from the private sector.”

Short and medium-term goals amongst other matters of mutual interest would be fleshed out between the entities when they meet in the near future, Minister Ramson stated.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Kashif Muhammad also congratulated President Munroe and his executive, noting that he is confident that when the hands and heads of all work together, it would ensure that our athletes are given a solid platform to excel for themselves and the nation.

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