PRESIDENT of the Amateur Swimming Association of TT Lindsay Gillette agrees with the decision by the Barbados Aquatic Sports Association (BASA) to not host the 2021 Carifta Aquatic Sport Championship because of the covid19 pandemic.
A letter, signed by BASA president Cheryl Lady Forde dated May 1 to Carifta federations, pointed to spikes in covid19 cases in “many of our neighbouring states” and the “rescheduling of the Caribbean Examination Council’s examinations” as factors making it challenging “to identify a date that would be suitable to host the competition.”
BASA confirmed that Barbados cannot host the championship at this time, but is willing to host the event next year. “It is with utmost regret that Council has agreed that under these persistent circumstances we can no longer hold the federation in a state of uncertainty. We are therefore informing the secretariat that Barbados is unable to host Carifta 2021. We are most anxious to hold to our commitment by having our agreement to host Carifta extended to 2022.” The Carifta meet was originally scheduled to be held from March 26 to April 7.
This is the second consecutive year that the Carifta Aquatic Championship has been affected by the pandemic. Last year the meet was originally scheduled to be held from April 3 to 15 in Barbados.
Swimming, open water swimming and water polo are the events normally held at the championship.
In an interview with Newsday, Gillette said, “I think all and all it was a very good decision by the Bajans to actually take that position.”
He added, “Better be safe than sorry.”
Gillette said the quarantine protocols are challenging in TT and around the region and the safety of the athletes is also a priority.
“I don’t know what the conditions are like over there. I am not going to send my kids into an area where there is a pandemic going crazy without being vaccinated…the other issue you have is St Vincent and the Grenadines. First of all, they can’t attend and second of all there are a lot of issues with respect to some of the ash falling in Barbados.”
The La Soufriere Volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines has erupted multiple times since April 9 covering Barbados with ash.
The BASA release said it is unable to plan events in these uncertain times.
“After careful consideration and consultation with the Ministry of Health and the Covid19 Monitoring Unit, BASA is unable at this time to give any indication as to when Barbados will be allowed to host sporting competitions. In addition, the Aquatic Centre has been closed for the last three weeks due to heavy ash fall from the La Soufriere Volcano and will now reopen on May 3. It has been a difficult time for all sporting federations.”
BASA is hopeful that following the rollout of the vaccine the situation will improve.
“We are confident that with the introduction of the covid19 vaccine programmes in our respective states conditions will improve. We thank you for your support during this difficult time. Barbados will continue to work with our Carifta member federations to ensure that our athletes have an opportunity to come together in 2022 and compete in a safe and enjoyable environment.”
Forde knows that the athletes were anticipating the event. “I understand the disappointment and setbacks this decision will cause the athletes and all those who work to make CARIFTA an exciting and rewarding experience. We are operating in very strange times and unfortunately, the decision is based on factors outside the control of our association.”
Forde ended by saying she will continue giving updates on developments in Barbados regarding events that may be sanctioned later this year.