–National boxer tells PNC in challenge to party’s ‘false claims’
DESCRIBING the current Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport as “the most active, supportive, effective and visionary that this country has ever seen,” national featherweight boxer Keevin Allicock, on Wednesday, took to social media to refute claims by the political opposition that he has not received support from the government as a national athlete.
In a post on his official Facebook page, Allicock explicitly called on the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) to leave him out of their “drama,” as he does not wish to be dragged into their baseless politics.
The opposition, in a statement issued on Tuesday, had referred to Allicock as being among “national athletes” who had said that none of the money allocated to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport had gone into helping them. But Allicock set the record straight that the opposition’s statement could not be further from the truth.
“As we say in Guyana, you have to give jack his jacket – this Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport has been the most active, supportive, effective and visionary that this country has ever seen. Anyone who does not say that is lying to themselves.
“I would like to express my gratitude once again to His Excellency President Irfaan Ali and Minister of Culture Youth and Sport Honourable Charles Ramson for all the tremendous work they have been doing,” Allicock said in his post on Wednesday.
The PNC/R, which is the largest party in the APNU+AFC coalition, on Tuesday, questioned the spending of the $3.2 billion allocated to the Sports Ministry in the 2022 national budget.
The statement was read by PNC/R member, Randolph Critchlow, who also made a number of other dubious claims about culture and youth section of the ministry as well.
Allicock, now ranked 54th in his division by the International Boxing Association (IBA), said he has no idea why Critchlow chose to single him out, and maintained that he was never contacted before his name was alluded to in the claim.
“Someone who I do not know made mention that I indicated that the government’s money has not gone into helping me and other athletes. Let me state for the record that I have never met that individual before, and I do not even know who he is,” the Olympian said.
Critchlow, in his statement, also referenced a recent incident whereby Allicock had called out the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA), in October, over treatment that was meted out to him during his attendance at the XII South American Games in Paraguay, which was held earlier in October.
Allicock, who was one of only three medalist in the Guyanese contingent at the Games, had called for local sporting associations to do better by their athletes after he was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis while in Paraguay, but there was no medical official traveling with the Guyanese team. As such, Allicock was forced to depend on assistance from another team as he faced a medical emergency while in Paraguay.
He, however, made it clear that this was an issue with the sporting bodies – GBA and the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) – and had nothing to do with the government. The GOA is responsible for arranging Guyana’s attendance at the Games.
“Let me also clarify that my previous public statement had nothing to do with the Government of Guyana and the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport, but had to do with the sports associations. In fact, I issued a subsequent statement immediately thereafter stating that I have “ALWAYS had the support of the Office of the President and the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport and I expressed my gratitude for that support,” Allicock affirmed.
After Allicock made the post against the sporting associations in October, President Dr. Irfaan Ali, publicly called on Minister Ramson Jnr, to open dialogue among his Ministry of Sport and national associations and federations.
The President addressed greater co-operation between his Ministry of Sports and sporting federations and associations, to come up with “minimum standards” for sporting contingents that will represent this country on the international stage.
Dr. Ali had said that he stood in solidarity with athletes, who had complained of lack of resources and personnel when travelling for international engagements.