Sports funding draft by 2015
By early 2015 Barbados should have a draft policy on the financing of sport.
This assurance came from Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley, who told MIDWEEK SPORT that he was pushing to have the proposal submitted to Cabinet before the end of this year.
This proposal, he said, was urgently needed to see how best the country could further support its athletes and to find out in what areas they required more help since it might not be strictly a situation of finance.
Lashley, speaking after a celebratory meet-and-greet with some of the island’s top athletes at his office in Haggatt Hall, St Michael, yesterday, added that the sports policy would be a precursor to the Sports Development Act.
This legislation will guide how the much touted sports industry in Barbados would actually take shape.
Emphasising Government’s seriousness about creating a niche sports industry, the minister said that the way sport was currently being financed in Barbados needed to be re-examined since there were still many other avenues for providing more support to emerging and elite athletes.
Lashley said that before the policy was drafted, his ministry would consult with stakeholders, inclusive of athletes, federations and managers, to solicit their views and ideas on forging ahead with a sports industry.
“I continue to say that Barbados has to redouble its efforts towards rolling out or transforming sports into a sporting industry in its full sense.
“What that means is not only putting in place the kind of systems that are required if we are serious about creating a sporting industry, but also putting in place legislation that speaks to the development, speaks to providing incentives for which the sports industry can excel,” he said.
He stressed that this was not just another set of “more talk”.
“We need to stop and recalibrate. I think a sports policy is extremely necessary and that is what we are determined to do.
“I think we are at a stage where we are evolving. Nothing happens unless we redouble our efforts; that is, both Government, athletes and the supporting organisations and federations too have a key role to play in that regard.”
Lashley admitted that in recent times much had been said about the level of Government support but he gave the assurance that his Government was committed to doing “as much as we can in trying economic times”.
“I do believe we can’t only talk about excellence, we can’t only imagine that,” he said.
“But you have a supporter [in me] in relation to any calls that our athletes must get the kind of financial support, moral support, country support that is necessary for you to excel. So I am with you on that one.
“All that is needed is for the money to come through the doors, and I think that we are going to have to look seriously in the not-too-distant future on a complete review of the financial support system for athletes in Barbados. (SDB Media)