Thursday, August 13, 2020

50th celebration of BASRA Grand Bahama halted

By FN Sports Reporter Shayne Stubbs

What would have been a grand event, celebrating 50 years of service for the Bahamas Air-Sea Rescue Association: Grand Bahama (BASRA) had to be canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization decided to cancel the Bernie Butler BASRA Swim Marathon, which was slated to take place this month (August) on Coral Beach, due to the uncertainty of the national lockdown being lifted, with the country’s COVID-19 cases continuing to rise. The event, which also includes a post-race fun day and rescue demonstration, is BASRA’s main fundraiser each year.

The Freeport News spoke with BASRA Chairman Eddie Whan recently, who expressed deep regret on having to cancel this year’s event.

“It’s tearing me apart. We would have been celebrating 50 years. We had big plans for this year, including releasing our own magazine and the Coast Guard was going to give a demonstration.

“We had a lot of swimmers lined up for this yea, and, we had a lot of tents already sold. It was going to be really huge this year. The past three years we saw the event grow bigger, year by year, and this year was going to be no exception to the growth.

“We had a lot of people on the board who were really going pretty hard with the planning. We practically stalled to the eleventh hour before deciding to cancel it. We were hoping we’d still have an opportunity to still have it, but we’re not even sure if the lockdown would be lifted in time for us to just have the swim race, minus the fun day afterwards.

“It’s hurtful. I’ve been chairman for five years and every year the association has grown and grown. Even with the negative publicity we got from the ‘second party’ last year, we can live with that, and we’ve worked around it because BASRA is a very important tool in saving lives around Grand Bahama and the Berry Islands.”  Read more >>