Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, admires the plaque??unveiled at the launching ceremony for Sport Cave Hill.

Sport is no longer a recreational activity or a seasonal pastime, but is a "lucrative sector" with many avenues for growth and development.

This assertion from Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who opined that some in authority had failed to realise that there was a paradigm shift in the area of sport.

She made the comments last evening during a ceremony to launch Sport Cave Hill and The Cave Hill Sport Academy at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

"We as policy makers must see sports as a viable means of development for our people, as well as an income-earning avenue for our countries, if we do not want the region to be left behind. We can never underestimate the importance of sports in the life of the individual, the team or the country. The discipline, self confidence and accountability associated with sports are very important to us as we go about our daily lives," Dr. Byer Suckoo stated.

The Minister told the gathering that the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development Youth Dreams Study which was conducted last year, revealed that young persons were interested in careers in various sports. "They stated that sport in the region was not taken seriously and there was limited investment in the area… The youth as usual have caught the vision and are beckoning us to come forward," she asserted.

According to Dr. Byer Suckoo, the Academy "is a high performance centre" which would attract and retain elite athletes with sport specific, high intensity training and education programmes that develop athletic and academic skills.

Describing Sport Cave Hill as another innovative and bold initiative of the Campus, she said she was "impressed" with its vast sporting programme. "I am told that Sports Cave Hill is a holistic programme, not only geared towards offering sporting options, but it encompasses an entire package… It highlights sports as a profession, fostering the creation of world class administrators, athletes and coaches through flexible and efficient programming and holistic education in the areas of sport and leisure management," she explained.

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