Posted on

Barbados big for FIA, says head

Trevor Thorpe

Barbados big for FIA, says head

Social Share

Barbados is an important member of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
The assurance came from president Jean Todt, at the head of a delegation on a recent visit to the island as part of a tour of FIA member countries in the region.
Included in the tour party was FIA vice-president Jose Abed of Mexico and America’s Nick Craw, president of the FIA Senate.
They also visited Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago on their way to the XIVth American Congress of the FIA in Cancun.
Addressing a representative gathering of public and private sector stakeholders in local motor sport, along with competitors and officials from the seven-member clubs of the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF), at The Villages, Coverley, Todt said: “You are small, but you are big for the FIA.”
Barbados is an important member of our international organization in sport, he said, and in mobility, where your representatives Andrew Mallalieu and John Sealy, each play a role in our business.
Of the FIA’s 135 member countries, Barbados is one of only ten with a population of less than one million, with a total of more than 400 competition licenses issued during 2011, it also has arguably the most active motor sport community per head of the population of any country in the world.
Todt, the former Ferrari F1 team manager, said Barbados has a real appreciation and passion for cars, for racing; “it’s a culture and it is fascinating when you think that, in Barbados, there are just 275 000 people living in this island . . . but you have created the Barbados Motoring Federation BMF”.
While in Barbados the official events began with a brief ground-breaking ceremony at Bushy Park, after which the delegation was transported to Coverley, where there was a display of nearly 30 competition vehicles, representing all the disciplines of the BMF’s member clubs.
Although no date was set for the start of work, as there were some final details to resolve, BMF president Mallalieu said it was appropriate to involve the FIA delegation, as they are hugely supportive of our plans for developing island motor sport and the funds from the FIA Institute’s Facility Improvement Programme were vital to kick-start the project.
Minister of Housing and Lands and Acting Minister of Sport, Michael Lashley, in welcoming the FIA visitors, not only to Barbados, but also to his constituency of St Philip North, said that in the 2011 Budget, the Government of Barbados had given its commitment to the motor racing fraternity, and “we have thereon committed to assist wherever possible”.
The Ministry of Housing and Lands is now working with Mallalieu to make sure everything is sorted out.
“Indeed, we are, I would say, one step away . . . and it is really a manifestation of Government’s commitment. This facility offers great potential for the growth of this parish and, by extension, of Barbados and the tourism sector. We have an opportunity to create a facility that will stand out regionally and internationally, and I am 100 per cent behind this development.”
He was then joined by Todt at the controls of a JCB 3CX; under the guidance of an operator from C.O. Williams Construction, which had provided the equipment, and broke ground on the grass infield of Bushy Park, close to the marquee where the formalities had been held.