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Government has reiterated its commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of all citizens and has promised to do everything possible to make sure "more preventative measures" are put in place to stave off health crises.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Harcourt Husbands, made this pledge today during the launch of the Barbados Vocational Training Board’s Sports and Recreation Programme at the C. Lomer Alleyne Centre, at Sayes Court.
Senator Husbands said the promotion of increased physical activity should be a priority for all Barbadians in light of information coming from the Ministry of Health about the high number of individuals who were suffering from chronic non-communicable diseases, especially diabetes and hypertension.
"I, therefore, applaud the Barbados Vocational Training Board for conceptualising this programme, which will assist the Government in attaining its objective of creating a healthier society. A programme such as this can only enhance the skills training programmes that are currently offered, since the young men and women will get the opportunity to not only get moving and stay active, but to have fun as well, while learning a skill," he suggested.
The Parliamentary Secretary underscored the importance of the sports initiative and said Government greatly supported it because the majority of young people who had engaged in mandatory physical education programmes as part of their schools’ curriculum, "now appear to have reduced their levels of physical activity".
He pointed out that the Board’s over 400 trainees between the ages of 16 and 25 represented a significant catchment group to which the notion of continual physical activity might be promoted. "Reports also indicate that this is also the group within which chronic non-communicable diseases are becoming more prevalent. This sports programme will afford these young trainees the opportunity to participate in activities which can have life-long benefits," he maintained.
Senator Husbands disclosed that a Wellness Programme would be developed to assist staffers in establishing healthier lifestyles. He praised the initiative and proffered that the BVTB obviously understood that "the well-being of employees is a necessity in order for productivity levels to increase".
Senior Coach at the National Sports Council, Adrian Donovan, said the Council would eventually provide coaching assistance to the Board and stated that its grounds would be used by the trainees in the execution of the programme.
Some of the sports being offered as part of the programme include basketball, cricket, football, road tennis and table tennis.