|Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley|
Barbados is putting in place a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of India so it can benefit from the expertise that country has to offer.
While addressing a two-day meeting in St. Vincent, over the weekend, on rebranding of the Organization of Caribbean Administrators of Sports and Physical Education (OCASPE), Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, underscored the importance of establishing partnerships with other countries and organisations.
Mr. Lashley told his audience: "I know that OCASPE has already taken the initiative and entered into a partnership with the Australian Sporting Commission and the Commonwealth Games Association.
"… What remains now is for us to ensure that we reap maximum benefits from these alliances and develop effective partnerships at the regional level as well. There is much that we can learn from each other. Jamaica’s success in athletics, for example, is already legendary."
Stressing that "incredible sporting talent" in a wide range of sports existed within the Caribbean, the Minister lamented, however, that what was lacking in many cases was the ability to provide professional training and human, financial and technical resources.
During the discussions, he proffered the view that the time was ripe to focus young people on careers in sports. "We need sports psychologists, sports doctors, physiotherapists and managers and we need to expose our youth across the region to the very lucrative opportunities that are available," he underlined.
Mr. Lashley also suggested that OCASPE should focus on developing programmes which would utilise the skills of retired athletes, since, according to him, this would prove beneficial for sports in the region.
Describing OCASPE as of "supreme importance" to the development of sports in the region, the Minister said: "It exemplifies a strategy which is necessary for the most effective development – and that is the creation of opportunities for networking and information-sharing among stakeholders in sports."
He lauded the group’s initiative to target "At Risk Youth" and suggested that his Ministry and OCASPE could pool their resources in the area of sports to accelerate the work.
OCASPE was instituted in 1994 by the Governments of the Caribbean and its mandate employs a proactive approach to the development of a quality sports and physical education experience for the youth.