St. Lucia’s Minister of Youth Development and Sports, Shawn Edward (right), inspecting the grounds at Orange Hill Pavilion, while??(from left) the Director of Youth and Sports in his Ministry, Jim Xavier; Acting Director of the National Sports Council, Neil Murrell; and Senior Technical Officer at the??Council, Ronnie Thompson, look on.??(C. Henry/BGIS)

St. Lucia is looking to improve its community-based sporting infrastructure and it is looking at the Barbados model.

This disclosure came today from St. Lucia’s Minister of Youth Development and Sports, Shawn Edward, after touring Kensington Oval. He is on an official visit with the Director of Youth and Sports in his Ministry, Jim Xavier.

Mr. Edward told the media that it was important to visit Kensington Oval and other facilities because they had experienced a couple of operational challenges at the national stadium and the Beausejour Playing Facility.

"I know KOMI has been quite an efficient organisation as it relates to managing Kensington Oval and [the tour gives us an] opportunity to dialogue with the management to basically find out what they do that has made them so efficient…," he said.

When asked about those challenges, he noted that the entire Caribbean was under pressure because of the tough economic times, therefore, it was necessary to "maximise the output from the meager resources".

The Minister continued: "There are challenges as it relates to the electricity at the stadium and there are challenges in terms of making the stadium more attractive to non-sporting entities. You really want a multi-purpose facility that can bring in as much revenue as possible and … I think there is a lot that we can take back home with a view to making our operations … a little more efficient than what obtains at the moment."

Mr. Edward pointed out that St. Lucia would host the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2017 and disclosed that he would have discussions with his colleagues from the various territories in the coming months to ensure that the games are successful for the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, Acting Director of the National Sports Council, Neil Murrell, said Barbados and St. Lucia had a long history of collaboration and suggested that this opportunity to share ideas could only redound to the benefit of both countries. "As Caribbean people, once we can forge ties in these areas, sports development will grow from strength to strength," he stated.

Mr. Murrell also noted that the number of sporting facilities had increased over the past five years and this had led to an improvement in various disciplines. He added that lights had been installed at various playing fields across the island and communities have benefited greatly.

The officials also visited a number of sporting facilities, including Orange Hill, Bridgefield and James Bryan Pavilions and the Briar Hall Pavilion and Resource Centre.


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