2011 was one hell of a year! As the end of the year approaches it is customary for media houses to review all the top stories of the year that we just made it out of.
I realized that I didn’t want to rehash the old negative murder/crime stories, or talk about the main political stories (there will be enough of that in the coming months), Instead I decided to write about just one story.
The Story That Made Me Proud To Be A Bahamian
Football, known as soccer in North America, is not that popular in The Bahamas. In fact, before this story broke, I had never heard of the BFA, but that didn’t prevent it from producing the biggest feel good, inspirational story in the Bahamas in 2011.
In May 2011 Fred Lunn was invited to attend a (all expense paid) Caribbean Football Union meeting in Trinidad to hear FIFA presidential candidate Bin Hammam speak.
After listening to Bin Hammam present his manifesto, the 25 Caribbean Associations, who had all been invited and hosted at Bin Hamman’s expense (hotel & airfare), were instructed to go to a conference room to pick up a “gift”.
Fred Lunn was one of the first in line to receive his gift which was a brown envelope marked “Bahamas”. In it were four stacks of US $100 bills totaling $40,000! He was stunned. Lunn told a CFU official that he was not authorized to accept such a gift, but was told to accept it anyway.
Feeling uncomfortable, he contacted BFA president Anthon Sealey via text message, asking him what to do. Anthon Sealey then called Lunn and told him “under no circumstances would the Bahamas FA accept such a cash gift” and that he should return the gift.
Fred Lunn then stood in line to return the money as other Caribbean delegates opened their gifts and split up the money right beside him.
Sorry, The Bahamas Is Not A Nation For Sale!
Fred Lunn and Anthon Sealey sent a powerful message to the 3 Billion football fans and the rest of the world with their decision on that faithful day in May 2011.
The two men blew the whistle on the bribery scandal now threatening the reputation of the International Football Federation, bringing down a FIFA presidential candidate and several executive members of the Caribbean Football Union in the process.
They proved that The Bahamas is not a nation for sale, that not everyone here can be bought and sold. That there are men of principle and integrity living here.
And for that I am proud!
Sir Jack Hayward put it this way;
“As for the Bahamas, having been once written off as an “island for sale”, Sealey, Lunn and the BFA redeemed the country’s reputation. They showed the world that not all Bahamians are for sale.”
For their actions these men are Bahamian Heroes!
In the face of a poor economy, never-ending road works, a new murder rate, political intrigue etc. I thought this story was a shining example for what Bahamians are capable of.
How Do you feel about the actions of Fred Lunn and Anthon Sealey?