Cricket may get more cash
What Bermuda Cricket Board's final grant from Government for this year might be is anyone's guess.
In the Senate yesterday, during the debate on the Budget, Senator Laverne Furbert again listed cricket's grant as $200,000, a drop from the previous year's $800,000.
However, the Department of Youth and Sport are believed to be working internally on a way to lessen that reduction and find cricket another $200,000.
And, Glenn Blakeney, the Minister for Sport, said yesterday that there was ‘flexible potential' to transfer funds within his ministry's budget.
“Although the ministry's National Budget allocation for 201½012 was recently passed by the whole House, there is flexible potential for virement options to be reasonably considered during the ensuing fiscal year,” he said.
While football has taken a cut of $250,000 from its previous grant of $1 million, cricket, at the moment, is set to lose some $600,000, which is roughly the cost of their wage bill for the entire full-time staff.
If Sen. Furbert's remarks yesterday, which mirrored those previously made by Blakeney in the House, are any indication, the gap between the amount the two ‘national sports' will receive this time around appears to be based on what each has been previously allocated.
“It's important to note that the Bermuda Cricket Board received $9.2m over the past five years,” said Furbet yesterday. “Bermuda Football Association received $8.7m over the same period.
“This accounted for 73 percent of the total Government grant to sport over those five years.”
In explaining the reasoning behind the amounts spent on football and cricket over that period, Sen Furbert pointed to the high number of the Island's residents that play football, and cricket's successes on the international stage.
“Cricket qualified for the World Cup,” said Furbert, “. . . cricket has been recognised by the ICC (International Cricket Council) as the best in the region for the past four years.”
The figure of $200,000 was originally put forward by Minister Blakeney on Budget day. And yet at a department conference just days later, he seemed to suggest that the figure was actually $400,000.
That would tie in with the feeling within the ministry that cricket needs, and is deserving of, more funding.
Youth and Sport are understood to be taking another look at the overall grant allocation to sport to see from where some extra money might be squeezed. A recommendation is believed to be close, with department insiders reportedly quietly confident that the funds can be found.