Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports, John King. (FP)

Barbadian athletes of all ages were recognized for their outstanding work last Saturday when the National Sports Council held its annual awards ceremony at the Wildey Gymnasium.

Minister of Sports, John King, who delivered remarks at the event promised that as Barbados approached the third decade of the 21st century, it would not just be “business as usual”.

“We need to put our hands to the plough – and work. Our mandate is to re-imagine the future of sports through the adoption of a vision for real development.  Our efforts, therefore, cannot be one-dimensional.  We must work harmoniously towards our common goal, that is to build an all-encompassing, multi-faceted, strong and resilient sporting industry for our Barbados,” he stated.

He shared his Ministry’s vision, which he explained, was built on years of consultation, research and observation.

“The National Sports Policy is a catalyst for our new approach – one that aims to recognize by 2030 a dynamic “sports for all” culture, that mainstreams sport in national consciousness and celebrates excellence in sports.”

Noting that institutional strengthening and governance were key objectives in the framework which the Ministry was creating, Mr. King pointed out: “Our operation cannot be fragmented, especially when the global landscape is rapidly remodelling its approach. In the context of the National Sports Council, good governance must be at the forefront of the organization.  The Council must be the benchmark of an effective, innovative, transparent and responsive agency – setting an example for every other sporting organization.

“The Council must lead, but it cannot lead from behind. Therefore, I have instructed the Chairman and the Board of Management that the National Sports Council must follow a strategic plan that aligns with international standards and the incoming National Sports Policy.  Therefore, the status quo will and must be changed.”

The Sports Minister revealed that the Wesley Hall and Eagle Hall Primary Schools had already been upgraded with surfaces to facilitate basketball, netball and road tennis. 

He shared that those courts were expected to not only service the schools, but also act as recreational spaces for urban communities that previously did not have.  He promised that this would not be the last of such upgrades.

“The National Sports Council will shortly be regrading and redeveloping the playing fields of seven primary and secondary schools across all zones, and have already entered into discussion with the authorities at the various schools, with respect to a roll out programme in early January…. We further trust that once financing allows, more schools can be incorporated into the programme in years to come,” Mr. King said.

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