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Mario Bowleg emerging as rising star in politics

More than a year after he was elected as Member of Parliament for Gardens Hills and appointed Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Mario Bowleg is emerging as a rising star in politics.

Though political candidates tend to make many grandiose promises during election season, the former banker and basketball coach has proven he is prepared to put his money where his mouth is.

Following his election, Bowleg has hit the ground running, literally, by paving Allen Drive just before Christmas as well as removing derelict vehicles and trimming trees on Emmanuel Way, Malcolm Road and Lily Lane in an effort to improve the quality of life for Garden Hills residents.

Over on Kim Crescent and Pod Road, the Garden Hills MP oversaw drainage clearing and held a Christmas Party for residents in hopes of spreading holiday cheer.

As minister, Bowleg pledged to develop family island sporting facilities by allocating $40 million for the development of facilities across the country over the next 10 years.

“We do believe that if we have the proper facilities, especially on the Family Islands, we would be able to develop those diamonds in the rough,” Bowleg said.

He has also promised to re-introduce the Sports Advisory Council, revealing, “There are going to be a lot of changes being made in the ministry. There must be changes made for changes to be made.”

During Bowleg’s tenure, sporting federations are also set to receive a major increase in their allocations from the Government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.

The annual grants of eight sports federations will return to $80,000 – a significant improvement from the distributions over the past three decades.

This hasn’t been done since Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham initiated the $80,000 distributions to core sporting federations in the early 1990s.

“This is what you do for a country that is producing top world-class athletes and that is the envy of not only the Caribbean, but the world,” said Bowleg.

Under Bowleg’s watch, The Bahamas Games are also set to return in grand style this summer following a 20-year hiatus.

“The launch of these games is very exciting not only to the ministry and myself, but also to the people of The Bahamas. The Bahamian people have been calling for these games as the last one was held some 20 years ago. I am happy and proud that as we move toward our 50th anniversary, we are able to reintroduce these games and bring the excitement back to the Bahamian people. It is my belief that these games will once again unite us as a people and one nation coming together through the discipline of sports,” Bowleg said.

The youth minister has also pledged to allocate $1.5 million for the first cohort of the National Youth Guard, which will give 18 to 25-year-olds the opportunity to gain technical skills.

“This initial cohort will consist of 100 of our young nation builders who will be positioned to make an impact in this nation through service,” he said.

On the Culture front, Bowleg announced that $2 million was spent on the Boxing Day and New Years Day Junkanoo Parades to “ensure the effective delivery” of the parades.

Days after the senior parades, the culture minister was on a plane to Freeport to participate in Sting Junkanoo Group’s annual give back event in West End.

With a strong background in sports leadership, mentorship and culture - as a former deputy brass leader for the Music Makers Junkanoo Group - political observers have opined that Bowleg is proving to be the perfect pick for his ministerial post.

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