From left: Pictured are committee member of?? the David Thompson Memorial Constituency Council Football Classic, Cranston Browne; Director of Constituency Empowerment, Kirk Humphrey; Minister of Scial Care, Steve Blackett; Deputy Permanent Secretary, Donna Cadogan; and Technical Coordinator of the tournament, Mark ???Bob??? Forde, at the launch. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

This year’s David Thompson Memorial Constituency Council Football Classic promises to be a tournament with a difference.

According to Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, it will not be a traditional football tournament, but one which marries sports and the community in "a way not previously experienced in Barbados in any form or fashion".

The Minister was at the time addressing the launch of the football competition at the Warrens Office Complex yesterday.

Speaking to members of the media and representatives of the Constituency Councils, Minister Blackett alluded to queries on why his Ministry was hosting a football tournament, and explained that while sports was mainly associated with physical activity, it is in fact "multi-dimensional".

"Sports can lead directly to human development, community prosperity and overall social advancement.?? The talents that are unearthed via a tournament like this can take unknown individuals, who in the past were not recognised, and showcase them on the national stage.?? It can also give recognition to communities that have had little to feel good about, and who are the victims of stigma that they oftentimes do not deserve," the Social Care Minister pointed out.

He added that the David Thompson Memorial Constituency Council Football Classic also had the potential to evoke meaningful change and alluded to the youth from various communities who worked together to beautify their communities in preparation for the games.??

This social development aspect, he indicated, would be a major focus in this year’s tournament. "…Each of the 30 councils has been asked to identify an area of need in their community and to have the players make a contribution to meeting that need. Some of the ideas coming from the Councils so far have been very encouraging and …the level of interest shown by both the councils and the players in reciprocating has been very heartening," Minister Blackett said.

Labelling last year’s tournament as "a major success", Minister Blackett stressed that the intention was to "replicate that success while making the tournament even more competitive and exciting than we did last year".

"The crowds at all the events were large and the behaviour was exemplary.?? This is proof that when communities get together, to support an idea that they own from the very beginning, there is little space for deviance or violence.?? We hope that this outstanding behaviour will continue this year," he stated.


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