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PM’s stance


Ezra Stuart

PM’s stance

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The David Thompson Memorial Constituency Councils Football Classic will kick on as long as the Democratic Labour Party continues to govern the country.
That assurance came from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on Sunday night at Kensington Oval, moments after he presented the medals, winning trophy and first prize of $30 000 to repeat champions, The City of Bridgetown.
“The Government continues to be committed to the tournament,” Stuart told MIDWEEK SPORT in an exclusive interview.
“We will do our audit of it as we did last year to see where we need to make things better, but this tournament will become a fixture on the national calendar and will continue to enjoy the fullest support of the Government.
“I think that it was a worthy investment and we have no regrets about embarking on it in the first place.
“The late David Thompson, of course, loved football passionately and followed it industriously wherever it was being played across Barbados, so we thought that the best way to memorialize David Thompson would be to establish this tournament,” he said.
Stuart also defended the price tag of over half million dollars to stage the tournament for the second straight year in the face of criticism from Opposition Leader Owen Arthur.
The rationale for its introduction, the Prime Minister said, was to bring communities and young people closer together in wholesome activity.
“If investing in the young people of Barbados is a waste of money, I approved of this kind of wastage,” he declared.
Stuart said he was told recently that the Barbados Government gives over $500 million annually in exemptions to businesses and others for the conduct of their respective activities and that was supposed to be money well done without.
“It cannot be that when you invest in others you are doing a good thing, when you can forego half a billion dollars promoting businesses – local and foreign – and other people in a whole set of other activities and that is acceptable, but if you invest a few million dollars in our young people to ensure that they are involved in a wholesome activity, if we are doing something wrong, I have no apologies to make for that.
“There are always going to be critics, but a Government has to know where it is going. We know where we are going and we do not apologize for the David Thompson Constituency Councils Competition,” Stuart said.
“Based on the success of this, we may want to expand our investment of the young people in other sports. That is a matter for discussion by the Ministry of Sport and also by the cabinet,” he said.
“Football, of course is a community sport, it is enjoying a particular resonance in Barbados at the moment and of course, that can only get better.
“Last year was the experimental year and proved to be very successful. The quality of football was extremely high and also the standard of behaviour was very high, so we felt emboldened this year to continue and we have not been disappointed.
“The young people across the country took the tournament very seriously [and] gave of their best,” the Prime Minister added.

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