Government is reiterating its commitment to sports in Barbados and is again assuring that the long-promised National Stadium is closer to being successfully brought into existence.
The pledge came from Minister of Sports Charles Griffith as he congratulated Barbadian sports people who participated at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.
Acknowledging that none of the athletes who made the podium — Sada Williams, Shane Brathwaite and Jonathan Jones — trains in Barbados, Griffith stressed that the stadium is absolutely important to his Administration.
“Everybody is speaking about the stadium and we need to have the stadium in place … plans are definitely on stream to have a stadium for our athletes but there is an elephant in the room that nobody seems to want to address but I will not address it here either. I will say to you, the stadium is coming; we are working on it. The architect’s drawings are completed, the Cabinet paper will go to Cabinet for final approval and we should make some steps,” he said.
In the meantime, the minister boasted of some of the strides that his government has been able to achieve toward making improvements in sports. This includes the refurbishment of the gym at the Wildey Gymnasium, which would allow it to be used by athletes for strengthening and conditioning. In addition, the National Sports Council purchased six high-definition cameras for athletes who want to capture their performance to send overseas. Moreover, a Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) programme is expected to be employed for those persons looking to qualify for scholarships.
Griffith continued: “This is to ensure that if there is a mother or a family that cannot afford to pay $600 for the SAT tutoring then the government is going to fall into place and deal with that. So, these are some more steps we are putting in place. The truth is, Government continues to pour from a cup that is not full and there are a lot of entities that we are pouring into and sports is one. But we are still pouring and the cup that we came and found was empty but we put resources in the cup. We are pouring from that cup and several entities are getting substance from that particular cup.
“So, Government is doing what is necessary to make sure that our country has a national stadium that all of us will be proud of but the stadium is not what was responsible for the success that we had in Birmingham.” (KC)