The Government of Barbados has signalled its intention to give new impetus to the sports sector through the creation of a comprehensive and inclusive sports policy.
Minister of Sport Charles Griffith introduced a Resolution to note the Green Paper in Parliament yesterday. It has been prepared to inform the formalisation of the policy that seeks to elevate sports as a central pillar of Barbadian national identity, social development and economic prosperity by 2032.
It also aims to provide communities with ownership in the development of sports and to ensure sports generates revenue for athletes, communities and the youth.
The National Sports Policy recognises 14 fundamental areas to sport development:
Creating an environment in which sport is accessible to all and which embraces the principle of inclusion as it relates to persons with disabilities.
Promoting gender equality in all aspects of sports participation and administration.
Promoting community development through sports.
Stimulating a culture of healthy living and wellness.
Intensifying the promotion of road tennis as the indigenous national sport of Barbados.
Empowering National Sports Organisations to be greater contributors to national development.
Promoting the formulation of strategies and programmes that facilitate the development of athletes, coaches and administrators to the highest levels.
Encouraging the full integration of physical education and sports into the educational curriculum, as well as recreational activities at all levels.
Creating an awareness of sports-oriented career opportunities for professionals and entrepreneurs.
Encouraging an inter-sectoral approach to sports development, establishing linkages with key sectors and stakeholders.
Creating an environment that is conducive to maximising the economic potential of sports.
Packaging and leverage a “Brand Barbados”, central to which will be sports.
Positioning Barbados as a hosting nation-of-choice for regional and international sporting events.
Transforming sports in Barbados to a multifaceted way of life.
Griffith, who has been the Minister of Sport since 2021, believes that now is the time for sports to be elevated to its rightful place to build a more active Barbados but also to develop those young people with the potential to reach international level of competition as well as be a contributor to the development of a sports economy.
He also said that the Government is looking to make it “almost mandatory” through legislation where all schools from nursery to secondary participate in sporting activities.
“We have been struggling at the National Sports Council (NSC) year after year to try to get teachers and head teachers involved in the process of embracing sports within the school system,” Griffith said.
The Minister of Sport also said that the policy will make accommodation for people with disabilities as plans are in place to make sure they have access to their sport of interest and as well coaching. (JC)