A sports ambassadorship programme is to go before the Cabinet of Barbados for approval, says Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley.
Lashley’s comments today came in the wake of complaints from former world 110m hurdles champion, Ryan Brathwaite, who earlier this week called out the government for its broken promises made nine years ago in 2009 after he won gold at the World Games in Berlin, Germany.
According to the minister, a sports ambassadorship programme is being structured along the lines of the cultural ambassador programme which will see three outstanding Barbadian entertainers, Allison Hinds, Anthony ‘Gabby’ Carter and Stetson ‘RPB’ Wiltshire, all being honoured with that status this coming Sunday.
In addition to Brathwaite, Olympic bronze medallist Obadele Thompson is also due an ambassadorship and Lashley said a committee would be set up to deal with all communication in relation to that.
However, the whole question as to why the government has not fulfilled its promise to Brathwaite as it relates to his ambassadorship and the donation of a plot of land, in conjunction with Sir Charles Williams, has still been left unanswered.
The minister said: “The whole issue of the sports ambassador program is being addressed and this will deal with a lot of the concerns Ryan has raised. Ryan is held in high regard and we are cognizant of the concerns raised but because of the nature of the issue, I prefer not to publicly address the matter at this stage.”
On Tuesday, the hurdler aired his concerns and vented his frustrations about the way athletes in Barbados are being treated.
“Up to now I haven’t received the land as yet or my ambassadorship and nothing has been communicated back to me about it. The jeep [Nissan X-trail] was the only thing given by the Government and Courtesy. All I am hearing is Ryan did this and Ryan did that, but a lot of stuff wasn’t given to me.
“It really bothers me. People aren’t really upfront with certain stuff, they just smile in your face. If I am assigned as a sports ambassador, I should be playing some sort of role in the development of that sport. But I am not involved because of lack of communication and it really upsets me.
“I have worked hard for this country, I worked hard for myself and in return, it’s just disrespect or rather lack of respect but yet we as athletes are expected to go out there and perform,” Brathwaite said.