Arts & EntertainmentCommunity ReportEditorialFeaturesLettersNews

No US-Visas for National U-15 Basketball players

DISAPPOINTED: Some members of the delegation at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall

Seven members from the under fifteen basketball players delegation have not been able to secure visas to travel for the upcoming games in Puerto Rico and as such, the team has withdrawn its participation.

The decision to withdraw the Guyana team from the games was due to the inability of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation to have the United States Embassy in Georgetown grant expedited visa interviews for the members.

A release from the body on Wednesday evening noted that games are schedule for June 18-22 in Gurabo, Puerto Rico.

“The withdrawal is due to US Embassy in Guyana being unable to accommodate expedited interviews for seven (7) members of our delegation. The request for the expedited interviews followed the process of team selection” the release from GABF stated.

The release however did not state when the selection process was done and if it was done in a timely manner to facilitate other key and important aspects of preparation such as visa appointments/interviews.

Recently a US embassy official did relate that due to Covid-19, several services at the embassy including visa appointments have seen a backlog and dates are being granted for interviews as far up as 2024.

The statement from the GABF went on to state that in the past the embassy facilitated the expedited interviews for national basketball players but not on this occasion.

The GABF noted that while the embassy did offer to interview the delegation members at a later date, there was just a one day window period for the team to make it to Puerto Rico in time for the first game against the Bahamas.

Interventions by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport and the International Basketball Federation America’s Regional Office all failed to cause the United State Embassy in Georgetown to adequately facilitate the team’s interview before the end of this week.

The fourteen (14) member delegation is already in possession of roundtrip airline tickets, as they must arrive two (2) days before their matches, which begin on 18 June, and will depart the US Territory on 23 June 2022.

The National Teams were previously placed in pairs taking into account their Nike Youth Ranking position.

Then the teams and their spot were drawn to define the matchups. Here’s how the groups aligned:

Group A:
1. Costa Rica
2. Mexico
3. Dominican Republic 4. Turks and Caicos

Group B:
1. Panama
2. Guyana
3. Bahamas 4. Puerto Rico

The competition will be held at the Fernando “Rube” Hernandez Colosseum. The top two teams from each group will advance to the Semi-Finals while the rest will compete for the 5-8 spots.

In the Semi-Finals, the top two teams from each group will face the second team of each opposing group (1A vs 2B and 1B vs 2A).

The Semi-Final winners will qualify for the gold medal game, while the losers will play for third place and the bronze medal.

The three best teams at the end of the tournament will qualify for the FIBA U16 Americas Championship in 2023.