This country???s Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, has hailed the staging of the just-concluded Soccerex Forum as an important plank in government???s symbiotic relationship between sports and culture.

He made this observation as he addressed scores of delegates attending the opening ceremony of the Forum at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, recently.

Mr. Lashley said Barbados??? hosting of the Soccerex Americas Forum was opportune, given the potential opportunities for sports and culture to become significant drivers in the diversification of the economy.

??????Sports and culture have the potential to contribute significantly to the region???s development and that is why it is certainly my focus and my business to marry sports with culture in a big way. You would be aware that Barbados has its first world heritage site ??? Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison??? I want to invite you to spend some time to see it before you leave to go back to your various homes,??? he added.

The Sports Minister mentioned the significance of culture and sports as effective tools in the development of the island???s youth, and urged the delegates to focus their attention on ???how you can make our young people excited about football, sports and culture in a meaningful way??? during their deliberations.

Mr. Lashley said the Soccerex Forum had the potential to transform the lives of young people, and highlighted the use of football as a means of changing the lives of the realities of their existence.

???I believe that Soccerex also offers alternative career practices for many of our young people and I believe that we need to encourage that particular role,??? the Sports Minister underlined.

Mr. Lashley also updated participants on a number of initiatives to boost sports, including the upgrade and redevelopment of the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium and the National Stadium.??The two-day forum was held from October 21 to 22.

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