Students of West Terrace Primary enjoy a game of
football on te new playing field. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Adults must encourage young people to make physical activity an important part of their daily lives.

This was stressed yesterday by Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, as he addressed the opening of a new playing field at the West Terrace Primary School, in St. James.

He said: "We have as teachers and parents to encourage our young people, not only through words but through our own behaviours, to ensure that they do not become victims to narcotic substances and to the use of narcotics which will alter their lifestyles. The more of our children we are able to keep away from negative influences, the better for our schools, communities, families and our nation."

Mr. Jones added: "If we can find an alternative lifestyle utilising sports, games, physical education, health and fitness, emotional and spiritual well-being, then we will hardly find that many of our young people will venture in that direction."

Adding that it was not enough to just hope and pray to develop well-rounded young people, he said that by actions, parents and teachers should be able to assist in the transformation of the youth. ??Mr. Jones maintained that parents needed to encourage and give children who were athletes the resources, and said the opening of the school’s playing field represented Government’s part of the commitment.??

He declared: "Where we can provide the resources we will, but there is nothing wrong in a parent buying five or six footballs and donating them…nothing wrong as you travel and venture into a sports shop, with buying cricket bats, hoola hoops, skipping ropes, large balls or bean bags and contributing to the basket of equipment to help the school.

"When we build healthy young people, we build a healthy nation… Your commitment to our young people; the 631 young people, here at West Terrace is a commitment that will augur well for the future of yourselves as parents, your communities and your country."

The development of the field came with assistance from the Ministry of Education, and the National Sports Council, among others.?? It was funded at a cost of approximately $60,000.

In his address, Health Minister Donville Inniss, made the point that the school "deserved its own playing field" and said it [would now] provide students with "a real opportunity to get active each and every day that they are here at the school".????

Outlining the importance of getting persons in the community involved in being active, he said: "I always like to say I’d rather provide recreational facilities and playing fields for the students and avenues for residents to take a stroll and exercise so that we can avoid people being ill rather than place the emphasis on [using] tax-payers’ money to build facilities that people have to be hospitalised or to be treated in a clinical environment."

According to the Health Minister, the new playing field would also help the residents to be socially cohesive, exercise, recreate and make a difference in terms of building a healthy community.

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