Basketball will have a greater presence in Barbadian communities now that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association (BABA).

The signing occurred during the launch of the Youth Development Programme???s (YDP) 2014/2015 National Community Sports Training Programme on Friday, September 26, in the gym of the Barbados Community College.

BABA???s president, Derek Garrett, and Director of Youth, Cleviston Hunte, signed the MOU, and the association presented several basketballs to the YDP???s Principal Youth Development Officer, Simeon Roach. A number of footballs were also given to the YDP by Technical Director of the Barbados Football Association, Marcos Falopa.

During the launch, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, said over 1,000 young males and females would benefit from the National Community Sports Training Programme, which would offer basketball, football, netball, road tennis, volleyball, cricket, hockey, martial arts and for the first time, boxing.

Mr. Lashley described the programme as a ???decentralised strategy used by the Ministry to reach our young people where they live???, and added that he believed it was the only one of its kind on the island. He pointed out that it had grown over the years into a ???reachable, interactive programme???, from which many sports clubs, teams and individuals have been birthed, developed and later excelled.

??????Our mandate in the Ministry of Youth is facilitating the needs and aspirations of our young people, and we all know that sports is a key element in the interest and development of Barbadian youth,??? he said.

The Sports Minister stressed: ???For us in the Ministry, sports development goes a bit further than that. It goes beyond the technical skills imparted and developed because we believe that sports must constitute a greater part of the national development picture. It certainly has got to be at the forefront for the development of young people and our nation.???

He said the National Youth Policy highlighted sports as a ???key engine of growth???, one that would assist with the employment and development of Barbados??? youth.??Emphasising that sports needed to ???become a very central plank in our economic strategy???, Mr. Lashley said that discipline should be regarded as an industry, especially since the nation was seeking to create different niches for employment and revenue generation.

Further information on the National Community Sports Training Programme, may be obtained by contacting the YDP at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth at 621-2700.

Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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