Minister of Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo (FP)????

The report on the Sports Facilities Audit is in the hands of government and it will be reviewed shortly so officials in the Ministry of Sports can ascertain the areas where their efforts should be concentrated.

Minister of Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, made this disclosure last Saturday while addressing the National Sports Council’s Awards Ceremony at the Frank Collymore Hall.

Dr. Byer Suckoo said the objective of the audit was to provide information concerning the status of the island’s playing fields, hard courts and pavilion and noted that upgrades would be done in a phased manner, "subject to the availability of resources". She added that some of the fields would be accredited to regional and world class standards.

The audit was commissioned by the Minister of Sports last year and conducted by the Principal of Cave Hill Campus, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, and Don Lockerbie of the 2007 Cricket World Cup fame.

Dr. Byer Suckoo also told her audience that the National Sports Policy was close to completion. "This policy will provide general strategic direction to the various national associations, while presenting a clear focus for all activities related to the development of sports and sports personnel in Barbados," she pointed out.

She further stated that the National Youth Policy, which was currently under way, would, among other things, speak to a more targeted use of sports by the Division of Youth Affairs to engage and empower youth.

She continued: "Sport is yet another area where our young people contribute to Barbados – Ryan Brathwaite did in sports what Rihanna did in music. We are committed to recognising our youth as assets and working with them to develop their potential."

The Minister observed that it would not be all smooth sailing in the area of sports because of the difficult economic times. "Our limited resources necessitate new and innovative strategies if we are to stamp our dominance on the global stage. Such strategies have to be derived through the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders of sports in Barbados, including you the invaluable practitioners," Dr. Byer Suckoo asserted.

Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite, the island’s lone 110 metres hurdles gold medallist, received several awards during the night for being the 2009 Sports Personality of the Year.

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