Sports unity call
Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley is calling on all Caribbean nations to work as a collective body for the advancement of sport in the region.
He was speaking on the final day of the Olympic Solidarity Forum and the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) general meeting yesterday.
“It is clear to me that the Caribbean as a collection of nations is indeed stronger when we work together and that is why I am extremely heartened by this gathering this morning,” Lashley said.
“I believe it is extremely important that we continue to demonstrate this collective unity,” he told delegates from 26 countries at Hilton Barbados in Needham Point, St Michael.
Adding his voice to the suggestion for a Caribbean Games, Lashley stressed that it was important that the region sought every opportunity to optimise the use of available networks.
And he went further to congratulate CANOC for the strides made in the development of sports across the region.
“For quite some time I have been anxiously discussing and appealing about a number of things. One in particular relates to the mandate of hosting the Caribbean Games and at what obtains in the international arena with regards to the hosting of sports championships across the globe,” Lashley said.
“Inherent to the Caribbean Games is the opportunity to expose the region’s athletes who really need that additional platform to enable them to maintain their momentum outside of CARIFTA and the CAC Games.
“Some may say that this objective can be realised without a Caribbean Games, but it comes at the very high cost of our athletes having to travel outside of the region, and possibly only a few persons receive that essential exposure and there are no widespread benefits to the Caribbean region,” he said.
Lashley added that he believed when one considered the potential to be obtained from hosting unified games in the Caribbean, it should become a reality.
“I also want to remind you that the benefits to be derived far exceed sports and economic benefits. As, for example, UNICEF has previously committed to working with the games to promote awareness, education and advocate their principles pertaining to the protection and development of our children.
“[The Caribbean Games] is possibly an excellent foreign exchange generator, an opportunity to showcase our top tier athletes collectively and to further enhance the image of the region in the eyes of the International Olympic Committee and the international sporting fraternity.
“Wrap it with the rich diverse cultural activities, which the region is renown [for], then I strongly believe we wouldn’t have a problem [attracting] the international sporting community,” he said. (SDB Media)