The kind of advertisement that Jamaica gets from Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Veronica Campbell- Brown would bankrupt that country if they had to pay for it.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made this observation today during a press conference following his tour of the Barbados Olympic Association’s Museum at Wildey, St. Michael.
”Sportsmen of whatever stripe have a critical role to play in a country’s development. They are very good role models for young people in the country. Their management of victory and defeat is a good example for people who deal with victory in their lives and defeat in their personal lives. They get a good sense that you do not win all and you do not lose all. Whether you win or lose, it is how you play the sport. It may still be true even though he has retired for as long as he has, that more people in a place like England where Sir Garfield Sobers was worshipped, would know more about [him] than they would know about anybody in the Cabinet of Barbados.
”Names like that of Sobers and Sir Wesley Hall still matter in international circles. I recall that when I was at the heads of government meeting in Perth, Australia, two years ago, I had a meeting with the then foreign minister of Australia, and he said to me that of all the things that have mattered to him in life when he was a youngster was to be taken by his father to Brisbane to watch Wes Hall bowl. Names like Sobers, Wes Hall and Charles Griffith are still household names in Australia. That is the role that sports can play,” Stuart added.
In response to a query which suggested that some sportsmen were experiencing challenges in accessing time to train or practise, Stuart argued that it was not a problem that legislation can solve. He suggested that employers should be “conscientised” to help them to understand that people who were doing well in sport were doing something that was important to the country’s development and could have positive spin-offs for their businesses as well.
“We used to have that problem years ago to get employers to give workers time to serve as jurors which is a national responsibility. We had to deal with that legislatively, but I do not think that that is a problem legislation can solve. Training time will have to be properly managed, because ultimately you cannot force employers to sacrifice their shareholders interests on the altar of kind-heartedness to people who want to be engaged in sport,” the Prime Minister stated.
Meanwhile, in response to a query on the construction of a new National Stadium, Stuart confirmed that he has been having discussions with the Chinese with a view to using some of Barbados’ portion of the US$1.5 billion promised by the President of China for the construction of a new National Stadium.
”In the fullness of time, not too long from now, we should have a new national stadium, something of which Barbadians could be proud about. The discussions are taking place within a positive outlook and we are going to be alright,” he added. (NC)
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