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Sport to be key pillar of economy

Sport to be key pillar of economy

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Government is developing policies to make sports a key pillar of the Barbados economy.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Dwight Sutherland said during the Estimates Debate on Tuesday that a new sports policy would be presented to Cabinet in about a month’s time.

This would be the precursor to the drafting of a Sports Development Act, the St George South representative added.

Sutherland also said Government would be developing a “specialist sports centre” to nurture the best young sportsmen and women, and that the Mia Mottley administration had agreed to a new “framework for funding elite athletes”.

“I believe in a month’s time we will be bringing the sports policy to Cabinet and thereafter we will commence drafting of the Sports Development Act and that will create the general governance framework for sports development in this country,” he said.

“A Sports Development Act would bring us on par and on the same level as the first world countries, and we have been looking at Australia’s Sports Development Act, India’s Sports Development Act. Let’s look at those countries, how they are doing it in sports, so we have to create that governance framework first and then move forward and that is what we are doing.”

The minister outlined Government’s intention of ensuring “that no individual would have to choose between a career in sports and academics, we have merged the two because we saw and we see the value in having our young people engage in sports, not only for recreational reasons, but as a career choice”.

“Based on that, sports has to take its rightful place in this country as being one of the key economic pillars in terms of developing Barbados and creating some young millionaires that the Prime Minister often speaks about,” he said.

“I am pleased to report that in the Estimates under sports, we have allocated funding to develop the bio mechanics framework in this country to help our elite athletes to optimise their performances.”

There are also plans to “make one of our secondary schools that specialist sports centre”, he told the House.

“We will have the framework in this financial year so that at some point in time, once we have finished that process we will indeed press the button and we will have a centre for sports in this country for young men and women so that they can develop their niche areas and their various sporting disciplines,” said Sutherland. (SC)