The youth on the blocks around Barbados should soon have an opportunity to play cricket in a professional tournament just for them.
The programme, titled the “National Block T20 Cricket Initiative”, was proposed by former Barbados and West Indies cricketer, Courtney Browne, during a meeting with the Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith, and his sports development team at the Ministry’s headquarters, Haggatt Hall, St Michael.
The initiative is in keeping with the Ministry’s mandate under the National Sports Policy, which seeks to include all members of communities, especially at-risk youth, who might be considered wayward or negative.
Endorsing the proposal, Minister Griffith stated: “I’m not one that believes that there’s all negative on the blocks, and so I’m not going to run away from it, because I want them to know that this is specifically coming to help them.”
According to Browne, the National Block T20 Cricket initiative is a community developmental and talent cultivating programme which will provide block youth with an opportunity to engage in cricket, a sport with the potential to catapult them into the professional realm.
Minister Griffith, while noting the programme would not just focus on playing cricket, said: “It’s about identifying raw talent and providing the necessary support to help individuals reach their maximum potential. Beyond cricket skills, the programme will aim to provide education and upskilling opportunities for community members, further enhancing their interactions and engagement with the sport.”
He also shared that the Block Cricket Initiative would be about building a stronger, more unified community.
“By bringing together block youth from different areas and backgrounds, it fosters a sense of camaraderie and community pride,” he stated.
Browne pointed out that while the all-inclusive programme would not produce all national cricketers it would, however, provide society with a more rounded individual that could positively impact their community.
“Through placement the opportunity is there for young men to provide for themselves as well as their families,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Sports Development Consultant, Jamal Smith, expressed enthusiasm for the programme. He said, “Every young individual, regardless of their background, deserves an opportunity to shine. This initiative is a stepping stone towards a brighter future for our block youth, one where they can excel in cricket and beyond.
“As the programme takes shape and the coaches are identified and trained, the Ministry’s team would be eager to witness the positive impact it will have on the lives of block youth. The hope is that it will not only produce exceptional cricket players but also responsible, well-rounded individuals ready to contribute positively to society.”