The Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) has rejected a request from the Southeastern Legislative Caucus to postpone the 2016/2017 National County Meet until southeastern roads are fully rehabilitated to allow the teams and spectators the “freedom of movement.”
The MYS said it is constrained to deny the lawmakers’ belated request because of the time, effort and resources already put into the County Meet by both the organizers (Ministries of Youth & Sports and Internal Affairs) and the other nine counties.
Deputy Minister for Sports Henry B. Yonton Jr. in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer via telephone said the “necessity of the rejection is also owing to the 11 days countdown to the County Meet, of which plans for the showdown has been finalized.”
Last week, the Chairman of the Southeastern Legislative Caucus, Grand Kru County District # 2 Representative Numene T.H. Bartekwa, told journalists that the roads in the Southeastern Region of the country connecting the six (6) counties and to others are impassable, thereby rendering the region virtually cut-off from the rest of country.
Chairman Bartekwa, reading the joint resolution signed by Senators from the six counties, including Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Grand Kru, Maryland, River Cess and Sinoe counies, said the very bad road condition and impassability cannot permit the southeastern counties to commute their various teams and officials from county to county and later to Monrovia.
“Now, therefore, we the members of the Southeastern Legislative Caucus mentioned supra, do hereby resolve the following to wit: that the 2016/2017 County Meet be postponed and extended to January 2017, of which time the dry season will enable the southeastern counties to fully participate in the activities of the County Meet; that where the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the organizers of the tournament cannot adjust the schedule of the County Meet as requested, the six (6) southeastern counties may find it difficult to participate in the 2016/2017 County Meet until the southeastern roads are fully rehabilitated to allow our people the freedom of movement.”
In response, the Deputy Sports Minister Yonton said they have taken the lawmakers’ points under advisement (careful consideration or deliberation).
Though he did not state what would happen if the southeastern counties failed to participate, he said that the Ministry hoped the legislators in the spirit of collaboration and unity will support their respective counties to participate in the 2016/2017 County Meet.
Meanwhile, the Daily Observer has reliably learnt that Superintendents of the southeastern counties have expressed “lack of knowledge” of the joint resolution requesting for the postponement of the County Meet.
A staff in the office of the Superintendent Council, who begged for anonymity, said the Superintendents are taken aback by the resolution arguing that “the Legislature is trying to tear down the sports festival designed by the Executive to promote peace, reconciliation and unity among the people.”
In the meantime, the Ministry has released the draw for the 2016/2017 County Sports Meet:
Group 1: Grand Cape Mount (host), Bomi, Gbarpolu and defending champions Grand Bassa counties.
Group 2: Lofa County, Voinjama (host), Margibi and Bong counties.
Group 3: Nimba (host), Montserrado, Sinoe and River Cess counties.
Group 4: Maryland (host), Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Grand Kru counties.