Residents of St. John have been cautioned by the Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, to take good care of the recently refurbished pavilion at Gall Hill.

While delivering an address last Friday at the official reopening of the $1.1 million facility, Mr. Lashley promised that the National Sports Council (NSC) would continue its standard maintenance programme for the building and its environs.

But he encouraged the users of the pavilion to undertake any minor repairs to ensure the maintenance of the property. "These and other facilities of the National Sports Council must be cared for and not vandalised. There have been incidents of persons abusing sports facilities by applying graffiti to the walls. I urge you to be a shining example in the care and protection of these facilities," he told the gathering.

Additionally, he called on the residents of the rural parish to make the most of the complex and develop programmes to optimise its usage towards their personal development and that of their community.

Mr. Lashley stressed that the upgrade of the facility was testimony to the commitment of Government and the late Prime Minister, David Thompson, to empower people through sports and culture. He continued: "In this regard, we have been upgrading a number of grounds and pavilions across the island, some of which will be identified as centres of excellence for the advancement of sports and culture in Barbados.

"Equally as important, is that too often we hear of the impact of the emerging lifestyle illnesses affecting Barbadians and the simultaneous gradual depletion of our nation’s human capital.

The provision of community sports facilities such as this is an important step on the journey to ensuring that Barbados not only develops the skills and the abilities of its potential world class athletes, but that we can inculcate a culture of healthy lifestyles among our citizens, through an active participation in some form of sports."

Chairman of the NSC, Seibert Straughan, encouraged the community to use the pavilion to assist with their fundraising efforts.

Mara Thompson, wife of the late Prime Minister David Thompson, cut the ribbon to declare the facility officially open.??

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