Kicking big bucks

by Shawn Cumberbatch

The two teams contesting next month’s finals of the football tournament started to honour former Prime Minister David Thompson will not be the only ones smiling all the way to the bank.

Barbados TODAY has learnt that a number of service providers and professionals are in line for thousands of dollars in remuneration when the David Thompson Memorial Constituency Councils Football Classic climaxes at Kensington Oval.

Others would have also gained financially throughout this year’s event, which officially started on September 30 in Gall Hill, St. John.

But indications are that despite increasing the budget by more than $264,000 this year, the organisers were faced with at least one “not satisfied” key stake holder — the Royal Barbados Police Force.

Budget documentation seen by Barbados TODAY revealed that the $52,000 allocated to pay for the services of lawmen,

two constables and one sergeant at each venue, had been questioned by police.

“The RBPF was not satisfied with this amount and it may be increased based on negotiations,” the document noted.

Additionally, with $14,000 allocated to market the tournament, last year’s inaugural edition of which was deemed a success, that aspect of the venture was singled out as another area of concern.

“This (marketing) is an area that needs serious attention. It is suggested that someone should be brought in to take care of the marketing of this tournament,” the Government document on the matter stated.

Otherwise, however, there was no signal of discontent involving companies and individuals benefitting financially from the football competition, which has been criticised by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party.

An examination of the budget approved by Cabinet showed that while the teams which place in the top four will earn a combined $75,000 in prize monies, by the time the competition ended, service providers and professionals would have earned more than that amount, much of it on the day of the finals.

Overall “administrative costs”, including performance fees for each team and “team operational costs” were more than $131,000.

Budget allocations included $30,000 to purchase uniforms for the 30 teams from Trinidad “through a local agent”, $14,000 to pay referees, $10,000 for portable lighting, $11,500 for “sound systems/DJs”, $21,000 in videography services by Jeffrey Alleyne, $22,242 for tournament supplies, $12,801 (printing services to football gear), $8,685 (catering services), and $6,400 to pay overtime to Ministry of Social Care messengers, entertainment ($10,000), and $10,000 to pay the tournament coordinator.

In terms of finals night, there was a further final outlay budgeted, including $18,000 for the use of the Oval, $10,531 for the provision of statement management and equipment rentals by D B Productions Inc., $10,250 for the provision of entertainment services, $6,960 for L.A. Security to provide its services, $8,520 for the medical team, and $8,650 in catering by Jordan’s Catering.

This year’s tournament budget was an estimated $592,501, up from last year’s initial estimate of $328,410, but which ended at $498,588, “reflecting the invoices which have been received by the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development”.

It was anticipated that sponsorship of the ongoing event would be through $542,501 sourced from the 30 constituency councils (about $18,083 per council), and $50,000 to “be sought through sponsorship.”

In the face of criticism that more than a half million dollars was being spent on the event in current difficult economic times, a report on last year’s event said it had achieved its objectives. Officials said evidence in a report on the 2011 edition “indicate that the tournament achieved its main objects, ushering in a new and exciting era in community sports, re-kindling community spirit and also providing opportunities for those young men who were not activity involved in mainstream sporting activities”.

“The ministry is of the view that the tournament, despite the number of challenges it faced, was well executed and a success. The consistently large turnout of families at the community centres across Barbados, and the strong community spirit exhibited by patrons, were notable features of this tournament,” the ministry document noted.

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