Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, has again called for the staging of a Caribbean Games, saying that if it is properly planned and marketed, it could bring glory and tangible economic benefits to this region.
While delivering remarks at the General Assembly of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) at Hilton Barbados today, Mr. Lashley told the body that serious consideration must be given to refocusing their attention on hosting the games.
Assuring his audience that the Government of Barbados and stakeholders in the region were willing to play their part, he expressed the view that a Caribbean Games would be an excellent opportunity to strengthen regional unity.
He continued: ???The Caribbean Games is potentially an excellent foreign exchange generator, an opportunity to showcase our top-tier athletes collectively and to further enhance the image of the region in the eyes of the International Olympic Committee and the international sporting community.???
Mr. Lashley underscored the importance of the games, saying the athletes would have an additional platform to enable them to maintain their momentum outside of CARIFTA and the CAC Games.
???Yes, some may say that this objective can be realised without a Caribbean Games, but it comes at the very high cost of our athletes having to travel outside of the region. Consequently, only a few persons receive that essential exposure and there are no widespread benefits to the Caribbean nations,??? he surmised.
He insisted that if the games were wrapped with the rich and diverse cultural activities for which the region is renowned, then there would be a product offering that would attract the international sporting community to the region in extremely large numbers.
The Minister suggested that the games would give them an opportunity to develop an enticing sporting product in the Caribbean, capable of attracting the major television networks, thus bringing in much needed revenue from the negotiation of television rights.
The Olympic Solidarity Forum and CANOC General Assembly were held from October 14 to 17 at Hilton Barbados.