Photo Credit: Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News
Acting Director of the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports (DYAS), Patrick Harrigan has vehemently refuted claims made by the Hoop It Up Foundation and its President, Steve Parillon, who claimed that they were booted from the Multipurpose Sports Complex yesterday morning, July 9.
Speaking with BVI Platinum News, Harrigan shared that Parillon knew that he would not have been granted access to the complex because the DYAS was conducting its annual summer program.
"How could you be booted out when you were never in the complex in the first place? The Department of Youth Affairs and Sports has a summer camp which has been happening for more than 30 years. Steve himself went through that camp as a little boy. He came up, he worked in that camp and then over the last couple of years he had his camp. Does that mean we are supposed to stop our camp because he has his camp now?" Harrigan asked.
He said that the DYAS camp is not just a basketball camp. According to Harrigan, they are also using the complex to conduct baseball, volleyball and badminton.
"I am not going to say that he is being unreasonable. I am going to let him and all those who want to make comments say what they think. This isn't a camp that we just came up with last week. This is a camp that has been running for more than 25 years every summer...nobody kicked him out because we don't like him. If we were just using the gym for just two periods, it would not be a problem, but we are using it the entire day for three weeks," Harrigan stated.
Parillon claimed his foundation was forced to move over 50 kids to the Lower Estate court for the basketball segment of their summer camp because they were "kicked out" of the Multipurpose Sports Complex.
He said that prior to the camp, he tried to reach a solution with Harrigan by joining both camps or having the camps split the court in the complex; however, Parillon said that when he showed up at the complex, just about nine kids showed up for the DYAS camp.
However, Harrigan said that Parillon knew his position even before he showed up at the complex yesterday.
"He knew I didn't agree to share with him because I knew what our camp entails, so I don't understand why he would show up trying to get in there and say we only had nine people. Nine people was there because the rest of them were at the assembly point which is the softball field where they were supposed to be picked up and taken to the various areas for the activities. There may have been nine people there, but the rest of them were sitting in the stand on the softball field waiting to be taken to the respective areas for activity," Harrigan stated.
Parillon claims that the kids for his camp were all sitting outside the complex when someone from the complex wanted to let them in because the foundation had more kids for their camp, but officials from the DYAS disagreed in allowing the foundation into the complex.
"We are here at Lower Estate; it's extremely hot and we can't facilitate the camp because there are so many kids for the small court. It's very difficult...we run basketball camps all year. When kids want to do basketball, they come to our foundation because we have been consistently running camps. Youth Affairs don't run basketball camps all year so they don't have that reputation for running basketball camps. We have the kids who are interested in playing basketball. It's just ridiculous and frustrating," Parillon told BVI Platinum News yesterday.
The Hoop It Up Foundation campers at the Lower Estate Court.
Photo Credit: Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News
He stated that basketball meetings were held between various interested parties and it was decided that Hoop It Up Foundation would be responsible for running the camps; the BD Basketball Association and the BVI Basketball Federation would run the games and the league; and Coach Keith '88' Malone would coach the elite kids.
Harrigan stated that he expects that a Government program would get precedence over the use of a Government facility.
"Nobody is trying to kick him out. When he went to check on the facility he knew that the facility was booked for the Government program. It's a Government program and it's a Government facility and I would think that a Government program should have precedence...He said he tried to meet with me. We spoke and I told him I am not going to combine. He knew what it was like last year and the number of kids we had last year. We were using the Lower Estate court because of the number of kids we had last year," Harrigan explained.
BVI Platinum News understands that the Minister of Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn had also not granted permission to The Hoop It Up Foundation to use the facility.