Stop the gamesmanship

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 14, 2002

Nansemond Indian Chief Barry Bass and members of the Mattanock Town Task Force appear to be engaged in what could best be described as an old-fashioned urination match over how to proceed on plans to build an authentic Indian Village in Suffolk.

In essence, at a task force meeting Tuesday evening, Bass and the task force dueled over who was going to show their hand first. Bass is refusing to allow task force members to see management plans for the town until they signal they are solidly behind the project. The task force, on the other hand, will not commit to the project until it sees the management plan.

A puzzler.


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Bass, not unjustifiably, is concerned that the city wants too much control over the project.

&uot;We don’t look at this as a business venture,&uot; he said. &uot;This is our way of life, our heritage. We don’t expect it to make a lot of money, we just want it to make enough to keep it alive for future generations.&uot;

Be that as it may, by donating land and paying for roads and other infrastructure improvements necessary to support the project, Suffolk taxpayers are entitled to see how their money is going to be spent. It’s a significant investment.

If the project is to come to fruition – and it needs to – then both sides need lay their cards on the table.

It is doubtful the City of Suffolk would attempt to highjack the project. Bass is the one asking for help and needs to cooperate with the task force’s reasonable request. City officials need to state publicly that they support the project – if indeed they do – and pledge their support to make it a reality.

The gamesmanship appears to be more centered on egos than the merits of the project and needs to be halted. Valuable time is being wasted.