Missing David’s Classic
The widow of the late Prime Minister David Thompson is saddened by the cancellation of this year’s David Thompson Memorial Constituency Council Football Classic.
Speaking publicly on the issue for the first time, Mara Thompson, the Member of Parliament for St John, told the DAILY NATION it was very unfortunate that the tournament could not be held, in spite of the economic downturn.
Since the establishment of the classic in 2011, there had been strong disapprovals in several quarters about the cost associated with the constituency councils hosting the event.
Earlier this year, Minister of Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, sought to quell fears that the tournament was in danger because of a cut in funding to the councils, when he said money had been secured for the tournament’s staging.
However, in late September the Ministry of Constituency Empowerment and Community Development revealed that the competition, which usually ran from October to December, would indeed not be held this year. Furthermore the ministry noted that it “will shortly be activating the planning for a possible 2015 football tournament”.
A fortnight ago, Minister Blackett reiterated that Government had no choice but to cancel this year’s tourney since it would have cost at least a half million dollars. He added that if more sponsors came on board in 2015, there was a possibility the event could make a return next year, even if only in a shortened format.
But speaking after a memorial service in honour of her late husband at the Unity Wesleyan Holiness Church in Edgecliff, St John, Thompson described it as a great loss to many young people desirous of showcasing their talents and engaging in constructive behaviours.
“I am saddened, most definitely, because it offered so much and did so much for those same young people that David always looked out for.
“Now it means they won’t have that avenue they had to get whatever they got out of it; getting to display their talent, getting some money, getting Barbadians to be out mixing and mingling and socialising as members of the communities.
“I am truly sorry that it couldn’t happen this year. I understand the economic situation, so I suppose I can’t be angry about it,” she added.
Nonetheless, Thompson was optimistic that the tournament could be held in 2015. And she suggested that organisers may have to look to private sponsorship to assist with its staging.
She said that this was a route organisers hoped to take after learning that the classic was possibly in danger of not being held, however, the news came a bit too late for other arrangements to be put into place.
“I certainly hope [the David Thompson Memorial Football Classic] will be held next year,” she said. “I am not the one who makes those decisions so I can only hope, coax and cajole.” (SDB Media)