Left to right: Acting Minister of Education, Patrick Todd; UWI Principal Sir Hilary Beckles; Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite, Minister of Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo; and Member of Parliamenf for St. Andrew, George Payne, pose after the naming ceremony.??

Government will be pushing ahead with plans to redevelop this island’s National Stadium.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who said the economic situation had prevented Government from implementing its plans this year. But, she noted that Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite’s success at the International Amateur Athletics Federation’s World Championships in Berlin "has shown us that we can wait no longer".

Dr. Byer Suckoo made the comments today at a ceremony to name the University of the West Indies Athletics Track in honour of Ambassador Brathwaite.

She revealed that she recently met with the 110 metres gold medal hurdler, who informed her that a better track was needed at the stadium. "We are hoping that with the provision of the necessary facilities, the other support that can be given to our athletes, and [with] the motivation Ryan has provided, we will see more of our athletes going on to succeed in the 2012 Olympics and meets thereafter," she told the audience.

In a wide-ranging address, the Minister said that through the National Sports Council (NSC), and Legacy Barbados, her Ministry was undertaking an audit of sporting facilities across the island, so as to determine what was needed at the local, regional and international levels.

"Our aim is to provide better sporting facilities for our athletes in various disciplines and to do that we have to look at what we have currently, especially since Barbados is looking to host more international events, including the 20/20 cricket, women’s boxing and a sailing championship next year," she explained.

Dr. Byer Suckoo noted that the NSC’s Strategic Plan had been completed, while the Ministry’s own was currently being developed.

She opined that society had not put enough emphasis on sport. "We need to re-evaluate our thinking when it comes to the value of sport and realise that we cannot continue to cut from sport when things become tight," she argued.

The Minister praised Ambassador Brathwaite, stating that he had become "a symbol of excellence". She noted that his duties as an Ambassador would include helping her Ministry empower and motivate all young people.


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