Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley (FP)

Government will soon be constructing two new pavilions and resource centres.

This disclosure came yesterday evening from Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, as he delivered remarks during the opening ceremony of the LIME Pelican Out-Of-Season Football Tournament at the National Stadium.

Mr. Lashley said there was a need for adequate facilities to support the development of a sports industry and pointed out that government was currently upgrading some of the pavilions across the island.

"At the national level, we are about to upgrade the National Stadium, which has not seen a face-lift for some seven years. This will include the replacement of the track, along with the upgrading of areas for the field events, the football field, the lighting system, dressing rooms and bathroom facilities. We further recognise the need to upgrade the seating in the stands and it will have to be factored in as resources become available," he promised.

The Minister disclosed that a state-of-the-art international stadium "is still very much on the cards. "We are currently exploring a number of possibilities, the details of which will be announced at a later date. Suffice it to say that another international football field would be at the centre of such plans," he assured those present.

Speaking specifically about the new football initiative, Mr. Lashley said it would empower the youth and enable them to earn as they played. He added that the tournament had the potential to stimulate an interest at the community level, where the youth could see the prospects of taking up a sports career.

He urged the players not to let this semi-professional league operate on the basis of business as usual. ". . . I, therefore, implore you to take this opportunity to hone your skills, eliminate indiscipline and be strategic in your focus on your personal and team development.

". . . The Government of Barbados recognises the need for semi-professional leagues, which will afford our athletes the opportunities to transition into the professional arena. And, while we continue to work with the Barbados Football Association to ensure the continued development of football in Barbados, there will always be a key role for the private sector to play in this regard," Mr. Lashley stressed.

He commended the organisers of the tournament and the major sponsor, LIME, for supporting the development of Barbados’ sports industry.


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