Says Stephan SookramNOT many associations can boast being a century old, much less to own that and be halfway into another. heck the country’s Independence anniversary isn’t that long – just under a third of that to be exact.Being the proverbial gem of Caribbean Rifle Shooting, the Guyana National Rifle Association (GNRA) celebrates 2017 as its sesquicentennial year; something that isn’t a cakewalk by any means.They have survived several presidents, Independence and Republican status, two Royal visits and the West Indies cricket team winning several World Cups (the last of course being very serious).And the executive of the body knows this and they are already looking at a grand week of activities to showcase exactly how much of a ‘big thing’ this anniversary is for them.With a rumoured budget of just about $20M to host 100 plus of the world’s finest shooters, from across the Caribbean, the Americas and Europe, the gentlemen planning this seemed to have borrowed my grandmother’s (God rest her soul) handbook of ‘get little, live long’.But they are by no means going to let one little figure spoil their chance to show off Guyana to the best marksmen in the business, let alone showcase on home soil, their skill to those visiting.Mid last year, the body gifted its eighth short range trophy to President David Granger and officially inducted him as the patron of the body to which he replied, “I would like to recommit myself to supporting this sport. It is an area in which Guyana has achieved prominence in the Region.”And while the government, through the Ministry of Education’s Department of Culture, Youth and Sport, has donated $1M to the cause, that total is only a fraction of what it will take to pull off a celebration of a centennial nature, much less a sesquicentennial ceremony.Having spent many Sundays at the range, that sort of funding may be just substantial enough to purchase rounds for the locals to participate, not even their prestigious invitees.Don’t get it wrong, the government’s support of the event is wonderful and I’m sure the members of the association appreciate it but considering the glory that team has brought Guyana. One can only hope that the donation made by the Honourable Junior Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry, is only a part of the ‘package’.Then there’s the argument that will come which implies government should not have to bear the burden of such a tournament, also an agreed fact that the private sector must stand up and be included.But the fact of the matter remains that $20M is required if Guyana has to invite the best marksmen in the world. $20M is what the GNRA needs to raise.Knowing the gentlemen that constitute the current executive, no doubt they are already striving to secure that sort of funding.