???It has been a real success in achieving the objectives we set out to achieve in the original stages.???

These words of praise came from Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, while presenting participants of the National Block Draughts Tournament with their prizes at the Ministry???s Headquarters in Sky Mall.

Lauding the participants for their dedication to the process, Mr. Lashley said they ???continue to demonstrate the mastery of their minds and their ability to put to the fore, what I call, ???real discipline???.

???You have demonstrated to the rest of Barbados that you have the tenacity of character to rise above all of the various criticisms that may have been hurled at you in the past and you???ve signalled that you can be leaders,??? the Sports Minister told the assembled participants.

Mr. Lashley noted that the tournament had originally been conceived to create a group of highly skilled players, from neighbourhood blocks, that would continue the legacy of well known Barbadian draughts player, Ronald ???Suki??? King.

Also expressing pleasure at the success of the developmental programme was Youth Commissioner for the winning team from the Haynesville, St. James area, Peter Skeete.??Speaking to the participants Mr. Skeete noted the importance of the tournament and its impact on the community.

???You carry the community on your back???it is tournaments like this that continue to improve the profile of this community???this is a community that we must continue to work hard towards uplifting the positive elements, [as it] has received so much negative publicity,??? he added.

In addition to promoting positive activities in which persons can take part, the tournament also took on an educational and developmental role. Participants were exposed to HIV/AIDS awareness and training.

They will soon be trained in basic awareness of the functions of the Department of Emergency Management, the District Emergency Organisations, disaster management and First Aid.

For the third consecutive year a team from Haynesville, St. James, has won the coveted title of National Block Draughts Tournament Champions. This year a record 27 teams competed for various prizes and trophies during the draughts tournament, and for the first time there was representation from all 11 parishes.


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