With a worrying restlessness among a number of our youth, the David Thompson Memorial Constituency Council Football Classic is needed now more than ever, says Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett.
He was sharing his views this morning while addressing the media launch and team draw for the tournament, in the Conference Room of the Warrens Office Complex.
“I must admit that I recognise and felt the need for more specific, national, age-appropriate recreational and social activity for our youth. This tournament therefore seeks to fill a void for our energetic youth, some of whom may be feeling marginalized or even excluded from mainstream social activity,” he stated.
Mr. Blackett said the tournament will therefore serve as a “stabilizing mechanism in our communities”, as the Ministry continue to address issues of marginalisation and social exclusion among constituents:
“It is my intention that in addition to football results, we will enhance our communication with those playing in the tournament with a view to effectively addressing many of their social and psycho-social needs.”
(Left to right) Director, Department of Constituency Empowerment, Sandra Greenidge; Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett; and Technical Director, Mark Forde, at the media launch and team draw for the David Thompson Memorial Constituency Council Football Classic today. (C.Pitt/BGIS)
The tournament, which will officially begin on Sunday, September 17, at the Usain Bolt Stadium, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, St. Michael, will start at 4:00 p.m. with a parade of teams.
The first two matches will kick off following the parade, with defending champions, St. George South versus St. Michael East, followed by St. John versus Christ Church East.
Mr. Blackett said the Ministry was constantly seeking to provide opportunities for unleashing and exposing new talent, and stressed the importance of building character throughout the tournament.
“My Ministry recognises the exceedingly high levels of enthusiasm and skill demonstrated by the footballers…We are therefore continuing to place very heavy emphasis, with the full support of all involved in the management of the tournament, on good discipline in all matches and at all venues,” he maintained.
The Minister also proudly stated that the reputation of the tournament was one of “fun, comraderie, friendly rivalry and community spirit” without any serious incidence of violence and extended his appreciation to the players and various officials.