While noting the importance of fostering better relations amongst district sports associations and the sports authorities, Youth and Sports Minister, Kenson Casimir says it’s also imperative to have a broad understanding of the different roles that these entities play.
Representatives from various sports associations and district leagues recently met with personnel from the ministry of youth development and sports at a retreat organised by the department.
According to a ministry official, the exercise was geared towards fostering better and stronger partnerships amongst the groups.
At least 20 organisations participated in the event, including representatives from sporting disciplines like athletics, badminton, basketball, bodybuilding, boxing, chess, cricket, cycling, football, martial arts, squash, tennis and volleyball.
Minister for Youth Development and Sports, Kenson Casimir told reporters the objective of the exercise was to obtain first –hand information from the various representatives on some of the issues and challenges that they face.
“Most importantly,” noted Casimir, “We need to foster a way forward in developing sports in St Lucia. Administrators are really an integral part of sporting development in St Lucia, and so we felt as a ministry that it is important for us to understand the role of the ministry, the role of the association and all other auxiliary groups in the development of sports on the island.”
The minister said the venture has been running smoothly so far and they have been able to hold dialogue and exchange ideas “and to see what can be done…all in the interest of the further development of sports, here.”
Cognizant of the constraints and other challenges experienced by the associations, Casimir says, the ministry plans to establish a ‘functioning sports policy’ to guide this matter.
The minister stated that though the ministry would like for all associations to have access to the resources required to flourish and to develop, and for athletes to produce their best, nonetheless “the reality is we have resource constraints …and so, this is an opportunity for us to sit at the table, and for us to discuss some of the challenges we face as sports administrators.”
Addressing the gathering at the sports retreat, he added, “The ministry is also working on the overall sports policy for this nation. For a very long term we have not seen anything concrete, as it pertains to how sports is administered, who administers sports in strategic ways and how (do) we go forward with sports over the next couple years and for the next decade.”
Consequently, said Casimir, the ministry felt it was important “to chart the way forward by ensuring we have an overall sports policy.”
He also underlined the lack of attention and recognition bestowed on former national athletes.
Said Casimir: “I feel that all former national athletes within a particular year, should not be paying to attend nationally televised and nationally recognised activities at our facilities.”
Among the topics covered at the retreat, included; long term athlete development, annual subventions, partnerships and collaborations, safeguarding in sports, national sports policies, rewards and incentives, and women in sports.