Acting Minister of Education, Patrick Todd,??greeting Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite at the Lester Vaughan School. Looking on is Ambassador Brathwaite’s mother,??Angela Young.??
Barbados’ newest Ambassador, Ryan Brathwaite, has been described as a "beacon and motivation for all Barbadians".
While addressing a celebratory programme today at The Lester Vaughan School, Mr. Brathwaite’s alma mater, Minister of Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, told an appreciative Ryan Brathwaite: "Because of your success all Barbadians are now energised…This is why the Ministry of Sports has to continue to support athletes and continue to work on our plan to see sports in Barbados really stand out."
She said Barbados was proud of his success at last month’s International Amateur Athletics Federation’s World Championships in Berlin. "That 13:14 seconds changed the mood of an entire nation, it changed the energy, and outlook for all of us…," she suggested.
Ambassador Brathwaite was bestowed with the title last Thursday on his return home, and Dr. Byer Suckoo pointed out that a lot had been given to him and was also expected of him. "The world is watching you, Barbados is watching you, and all of our young people are watching you, and that is a heavy responsibility. But, it means that you have to keep clean for all of us to see, you have to make sure that you continue to work hard. And, if you don’t always get gold, we will still love you all the way…. You showed us that even if you get off to a rocky start, once you put your effort and determination into it, you can still achieve your goals," she stressed.
The Minister commended the teachers at the school noting that Ryan Brathwaite’s achievements should be an inspiration to them, a reminder that their efforts were not in vain.
She said her Ministry was keen to complete the National Strategic Plan for Sports and she expressed the hope that she would soon be able to meet with Ambassador Brathwaite and the AAA to discuss his needs and those of other athletes.
Acting Minister of Education, Patrick Todd, described the athlete’s performance as a "life-altering moment, the effects of which would be felt for many years to come". He said the Ambassador would have to deal with the expected pressure, so he, therefore, always had to perform at his optimum level and live up to some potentially challenging expectations.
Mr. Todd urged all Barbadians to respond to the unfolding of Ryan Brathwaite’s career with patience, compassion and understanding. "Lend him your wholehearted support and leave room for forgiveness if events do not immediately turn out the way you may have anticipated. Remember, he is human!
"Make sure that Ryan Brathwaite knows that wherever he is in the world, whatever trying circumstance he might encounter, he is never alone. You at The Lester Vaughan School are with him at every step of the way," he stated.
The Minister revealed that he was Ambassador Brathwaite’s Mathematics lessons teacher and that he had remained the unassuming, soft-spoken, respectful person that others had described him as.
After presenting a plaque to the school, Ambassador Brathwaite encouraged the students to always go after their dreams and to constantly pray. He told them that he was looking forward to Lester Vaughan winning the secondary schools’ athletics championship next year.