Seymour defends director salary

Some in Cayman may wonder why a netball coach deserves over US$60,000.

For Cayman Islands Netball Association President Lucille Seymour, that money is necessary to maintain a national coach for one of the country’s primary sports.

“Netball is fully responsible for the coach,” Seymour said. “We got to find things like an office for her. Out of that $50,000 you have to account for housing, airfare and travel expenses. We’re going to have to dip into fundraiser money because we want her to stay two years at least. She is not being paid as highly as Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro or the other technical directors.”

The association recently hired Gillian Lee to be Cayman’s new technical director and national netball coach. Lee, an Australian, was previously in Melbourne serving as Monash University Central head coach for nearly a decade. She is expected to earn a salary of some $50,000 and start work in Cayman at the end of this month.

Before leaving Australia, Lee had stated that she was looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s what you make of it and I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” Lee said. “Just living in a different culture, that’s the fun of seeing the world.”

Lee fills a post that was left vacant since the passing of the late Jean Pierre roughly a decade ago. Her salary is coming out of the $77,393 government budgeted for the sport, according to the 2011-2012 purchase agreement between Cabinet and the association.

Seymour states that it is not enough funding to achieve future objectives.

“Government granted us about $77,000 with some $50,000 going towards her salary. That salary pays for everything, everything concerning her, such as housing. That’s all the government could give us. With her salary, about $27,000 is left to run the association. That is not enough when you consider one national team trip alone is like $16,000 to, say, Jamaica and Cayman is looking to enter the Under-21 World Championships in Scotland for 2013.”

Netball is one of six focus sports in Cayman, with the others being athletics, basketball, cricket, football and swimming. It is also one of the latest to hire a technical director with swimming recently hiring Brit Ian Armiger for that position.

The aforementioned purchase agreement indicates that the government allotment for netball is nearly double compared to the 2010-2011 term (which was $34,200).

Director of Sports Collin Anglin states Lee’s salary compares favourably to other technical directors like Victor O’Garro (who is responsible for basketball).

“They are safely in the range between $50,000-$60,000, to my knowledge,” Anglin said. “I’m not sure about swimming as they got a certain amount from government and fundraised more for their guy. It is not a lot in the grand scheme of things as they get a salary that is understandable.

“People have to understand a corporation has to function and the sports associations are like corporations. A technical director is almost like the managing director of an association.

“He/she has to overlook everything. In the corporate world, the managing directors get a high salary and sports is big business.

“For sports organizations to run properly, it’s not an easy task. Most of the persons are volunteers and that makes it more difficult as there are not much paid positions.

“It lends difficulty in getting things organized. You are responsible for the development of an entire sport; going to the schools, catering to adults across all demographics and international participation. It takes a tremendous amount of planning and organization.”