Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Development, Dwight Sutherland, has indicated that Government is “looking at a holistic approach to the development of sports in this country”.
He made the statement today, while conducting site visits for the 15 Mini Stadia and Lighting Upgrading Project.
The Minister pointed out that part of the holistic approach involves the creation of a National Sports Policy that would lead to the drafting of a Sports Development Act, which would govern all sporting activities in the country.
“Recently, we took to Cabinet, thanks to the Permanent Secretary and the staff within the Ministry, a National Sports Policy. We don’t have one, but we created one and it was vetted at Cabinet, and they sent us back because this Cabinet is a robust Cabinet and we might not always have 100 per cent accuracy, but we believe that if we put a National Sports Policy out there, our key stakeholders must be happy with it,” Minister Sutherland stated.
He added that the draft National Sports Policy encompasses the development of all sporting disciplines, and the paper was disseminated to 67 sporting bodies across the island to get their feedback.
Mr. Sutherland also revealed that the Barbados Olympic Association and the Barbados Turf Club played an instrumental role in developing the paper, and there was input from overseas consultants, who shared policies from countries like India, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Minister also disclosed that the enactment of the National Sports Policy and the Sports Development Act will direct the way in which sports is financed.
“Very often, we look at other countries and we see … sponsorship coming in for sporting disciplines…. And, we want to anchor the economic thrust of sports within our Sports Development Act, and that is what we are focusing on. So, you should see a National Sports Policy … being laid in Parliament. I will say within the next four weeks’ maximum, and thereafter, the Attorney General’s Office will be responsible for drafting the Sports Development Act. This is the legislation that will govern sports in this country as we move forward,” Minister Sutherland noted.