|Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley??|
Government remains committed to ensuring that young people are allowed access to sporting facilities and programmes within their communities.
This assurance came from Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, over the weekend as he addressed the Youth Development Programme’s Community Training Sports Rally at the Deighton Griffith Secondary School.
Mr. Lashley said he had heard the concerns from youth in some communities across the island that they were not being permitted to use the National Sports Council’s facilities, namely the pavilions.
"I have given instructions to the National Sports Council to investigate these concerns and ensure that the policy of the Government is adhered to. This is not to say that access to pavilions and other facilities is unconditional. I have also received reports of improper behaviour and acts of vandalism at some of our facilities.
"So, while we want persons to access the facilities which taxpayers have to pay for, I expect that we will take care of them and not abuse them. I also expect that good manners and behaviour will prevail at all our facilities. When these rules are broken offenders cannot expect to be given access," he firmly stated.
The Minister reminded his young audience that the sports facilities cost taxpayers "millions of dollars to construct and maintain" and he implored all in the community to "cherish and protect them" as they would their own properties.
Mr. Lashley pointed out that Government’s policy "is to quickly establish sports" as an industry because of its importance to national development. He stressed that young people were central to the realisation of that policy, and proffered the view that there were lucrative careers and business opportunities in sports.
He again appealed to young entrepreneurs to join with Government in establishing a company to manufacture and market road tennis racquets, nets, balls and branded clothing. "We must not allow others to take the comparative advantage away from us in securing the gains from what is our own indigenous sport. Let us not wait any longer as road tennis continues to become more and more popular," he pleaded.
During the 10-week training programme, the young people were able to improve their skills in various sports, as well as learn tolerance, teamwork, decision-making and dedication, qualities which they can apply in every aspect of their lives.