Concern has been raised over challenges faced by Barbadian cricketers who have applied to financial institutions for loans.
In a recent meeting with Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, at his office in Sky Mall, the Barbadian members of the Under-19, Men???s and Women???s West Indies teams who recently won the International Cricket Council (ICC) World T20 Championship tournament, said they were told by some banks ???that they do not consider a professional cricketer as someone who has a job???.
Mr. Lashley expressed concern over the matter, and stated that if we as a people are serious about cricket, then ???now is the time to concretise that in a way that makes sense???, and we must use ???all of the avenues available??? to bring some tangible benefit to our cricketers.
He continued: ???I really believe that if we are serious about cricket, and we have spent quite a bit of time over the last couple of weeks celebrating our cricketers,???then our banks need to relook that approach and not only in relation to cricketers but to our athletes who are earning and who go out there and represent their countries.???
Emphasising that he was not encouraging banks to enter into loan arrangements knowing that applicants were unable to pay, the Sports Minister however stated that some type of ???dispensation??? must be carved out for the cricketers.
He noted that our cricketers of international repute are earning, and should not be discriminated against in our financial system purely because they happened to be cricketers or athletes.
???I would hope that our banks are sufficiently sophisticated enough to be able to devise ways and means to finding a suitable solution to that particular challenge,??? he underscored.
Mr. Lashley further stated that he would be making representation to Government, as well as eliciting the support of the private sector, in identifying ???in a tangible way??? how the country felt about the outstanding achievements of the ICC Champions.
Acknowledging that the teams had worked exceedingly hard, the Minister assured them that they had his support, and that he would advance some of their recommendations through the efforts of Government and the private sector.