Youth Development and Sports Minister Kenson Casimir is looking to improve the direction the Saint Lucia Sports Academy has taken since opening its doors exactly two years ago.
Aside from engaging in the academics the learning institution provides students with an assortment of life-skills, and sports particularly in athletics, cricket and football.
Located in Gros Islet, students are also exposed to off the-field courses in areas such as coaching and media arts.
In July of this year, the learning institution’s Under-19 cricket team emerged Joint Champions with Central Castries in a rain affected final played at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground. The tournament was organized by the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association, dubbed the ‘Sandals Cup’and sponsored by Sandals Saint Lucia.
The Youth Development and Sports Minister spoke to THE VOICE about his plans and the many changes going forward.
“First and foremost I do not have a problem necessarily with the entirety of what we have as a Sports Academy, however, if we are going to have a Sports Academy it is important that we are going to engage young men and women that are sports oriented to at least upon graduation have some certification in a sport related field, because that is how you build the economy of sports.”
He said that at the end of the students’ tenure at the facility they should be engaged in some online sports programme.
“Allow them to decide during their maturation whether or not I want to do a coaching programme and get a certification, whether or not I want to do a health and fitness programme and gain a certification, whether or not I want to do something in basic sport injury and get a certification, at the end of the day you leave the SLSA with your CXCs, but you leave with at least a foundation for you to gravitate towards a sports area.”
“I have said the facility is there and there are a number of things we have not gravitated to as an island that could ensure we have sustainable development in sports. Like sports medicine, sports science, sports nutrition, sports psychology, sports administration and a number of other areas.”
“Of course, everything you do, you will get challenged, when people come with their ambitions they put their effort in a particular programme, a particular dynamic, persons saying, what you saying is nothing new.” he stated.
Said Casimir, “What we have seen from the Sports Academy is a huge facility, there is a lot of space in there that is untapped, the young sportsmen and sportswomen they go in there, they eventually do CXCs like what operates at different schools. The difference that you see there is a few sports; football, cricket, and a very small scale in track and field. They camp and leave on the weekend, a lot of money is invested in terms of feeding these athletes during the week.”
“I believe if we look at development and sports in a small nation like Saint Lucia, I think we need to go in a different direction. The proposal is not to oust anybody, we can absorb the current students and teachers back into the school system, it has been done before, those with the ability of teaching and coaching we can keep.” Casimir said.