SAINT Lucia Youth Development and Sports Minister, Kenson Casimir has weighed in on Saint Lucia Football Association (SLFA) Inc’s withdrawal of both Saint Lucia Boys 15 and under and Girls Under 14 national teams.
The SLFA was unable to fulfill their engagement in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Caribbean Series, which kicked off in the Dominican Republic on Sunday 22nd August 2021.
According to a release from the SLFA, both teams were scheduled to depart for the Series on Friday 20th August but had to be subsequently withdrawn by the local governing body as a result of health-related issues.
The sports minister spoke to the media following a congratulatory ceremony held for veteran cricket commentator Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira at Sandals Grande and Spa Beach Resort.
Casimir said, “I think it’s a very sad situation, I remember being part of Saint Lucia National Under-15 cricket team and I remember how good it felt to be a national player. My heart goes out to the young persons who prepared assiduously to represent Saint Lucia at the Under 15 level, but because of COVID -19 were robbed of that opportunity.”
He added, “It gives me the opportunity to say to parents and to the wider society, COVID -19 is something we need to take seriously, I want to encourage persons to get vaccinated, right now we have two options of a vaccine, I think our people should get vaccinated. I also think we need to continue to follow the protocols, we need to stay six feet apart, wash our hands regularly, sanitize, and we need to avoid social gathering and that is the only way we can avoid situations like that.”
The Minister called on the Saint Lucia Football Association, the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association and other sporting organizations to continue to encourage their members and other persons to build their immunity, and to do so through sports and ensure that they have as many programmes as possible online for their athletes to continue to develop.
“My heart goes out to these young individuals,” Casimir said.
Casimir supports national teams being in a bubble to avoid contracting the coronavirus stating that “being involved in a bubble is something we see going on universally and I think for national teams it would be very responsible to try as much as possible to ensure that we have camps in place for them,” Casimir said.
He encouraged the parents of the athletes to take their immunity and the COVID-19 protocols seriously.