In spite of producing two world champions, local Jet Ski racing does not have clear government funding.
For Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush, public sector support is tempered by financial constraints.
“The Ministry of Sports can’t think of supporting every single sport in Cayman,” Bush said. “We, in government, try but we have budget calls on everything. We’ve talked about funding, others are expecting us to give financial support, but we got to balance what all the associations ask for.
“We just don’t have the funds for everything, we have to balance everything. We, as a people, are captivated by the waters around us, especially in this sport. We will continue to offer sincere support.”
According to the 2012-2013 purchase agreements, the government is not providing financial assistance to the Cayman Islands Watercraft Association, the governing body for Jet Ski racing in Cayman, or any specific riders. However, government is backing other water-based disciplines in angling, sailing and swimming (which is one of Cayman’s focus sports).
The purchase agreements show the Cayman Islands Angling Club getting $33,403 for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. The Cayman Islands Sailing Club receives $41,706 and the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association, listed in the purchase agreements as the Cayman Islands swimming association, takes in $71,073.
Bush made his remarks at the recent watercraft association 2012 national championship series awards ceremony at Ristorante Pappagallo in West Bay. The occasion highlighted the top riders and he was especially pleased with the academic honours that were given out.
“I thank all of you for upholding these athletes and this sport. It’s one of the great associations of these islands for supporting the scholastic excellence and talent of young people.
“Whatever the sport, it’s important to have good young people involved.”
The occasion also honoured 2012 world champion Roshad Goff, 25, who excelled at the International Jet Sport Boating Association World Finals. The West Bay native placed first overall in the Amateur Stock class and fourth in the Pro Stock division. Accompanying Goff in Lake Havasu, Arizona were 2011 world champ Jordan ‘JJ’ McLean, Javier Medina, Gary ‘GJ’ Whittaker and Vanjae ‘VJ’ Ramgeet. Goff, who won Cayman’s expert class, stated months ago that the sport needed more funding.
“I think we can produce more world-class athletes, if funding was based on results,” Goff said.
Bush, who was joined at the ceremony by Minister of Sports Mark Scotland and community figures like Reginald ‘Choppy’ Delapenha, stated Goff’s achievement is not being overlooked.
“We take into account the efforts and sacrifices of every young person on this Island. We’ll do anything to further our children, they are our future. We would love to give funds but we will do what we can.
“Upholding these young people as ambassadors makes a name for Cayman as a place that nurtures the sport. It’s an opportunity for us as Caymanians to rise up the ranks and be recognised for our talents.
“I’m really not a dictator like they say I am. Whether you like me or not, I will do what I can with regional, international and local sports.”