NSC Personality of the Year, Ivorn McKnee receives a crystal vase from Minister of Sports Esther Byer Suckoo. (Image: www.nationnews.com)

The National Sports Council (NSC) will examine various ways to expand the scope of its coaching services during the year, in order to increase recreational involvement in sports throughout local communities.

This is the word from Minister of Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who said her vision was to see the Council do even more at the community level, while preparing for international success.

She made the comments last Saturday while addressing the 26th Annual National Sports’ Awards Ceremony at the Frank Collymore Hall.

Dr. Byer Suckoo told the gathering that there would be more co-ordination with the departments in her Ministry of Youth, Family and Sports to enable human and fiscal resources to be more efficiently used in this economic climate.

“The Ministry sees increased participation at the community level as a means by which it can ensure the future international success of our sporting nation. There are hundreds of organisations throughout the length and breadth of the country which are actively involved in sports and it is a fact that if there was greater collaboration, the effects of their programming could be significantly improved,” she stated.

She promised that government would focus on the plans and activities of many clubs and associations by providing strategic planning for the national sporting organisations.

Stressing that there were insufficient funds to meet the valid requests of all applicants, she pointed out that Government would have to apply a greater level of strategic thought, planning and management that sports had hitherto not previously seen.

Dr. Byer Suckoo noted that despite the financial constraints that might be placed on sports-related spending, Government intended to further develop sports and the challenging economic times would, therefore, present an opportunity to improve the efficiency of the existing systems.

“It is my firm belief that this period, which is continually being proclaimed as one of financial uncertainty, presents sports with an opportunity to make an immediate and lasting contribution to this country, and by extension the region.    

“This contribution will establish sports as a productive socioeconomic sector, creating job opportunities both directly and indirectly, and most importantly, it will engender the population with a desire to be actively involved in sports with the knowledge of its potential to variously and positively affect the quality of their lives,” she said.

The Minister expressed the view that despite this country’s sporting tradition, Barbados had not yet sufficiently adopted and communicated its perception of sports. “For that reason, successive governments have been pilloried by the press, the sporting practitioners and the public alike for their apparent misappropriation of our sporting inheritance,” she stated.

According to her, by prioritising the creation of a national sports policy, the Government was laying the foundation for the establishment of a sports sector, and concomitantly confirming the specialised focus that it required.

She opined that sporting development had suffered greatly over the years from the vicissitudes of policy makers who had been unable to understand the discourse of a changing sports industry.

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