KINGSTON — The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, has been given the go-ahead by Cabinet to prepare a National Sports Policy green paper, as the Government looks to capitalise on the economic and social opportunities that the sports industry provides.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, said the green paper will be used to generate discussion among all interests. “After those consultations with the associations and with other stakeholders, which we are going to make sure we fast track, I will take it back to Cabinet (for) approval to prepare a white paper to table in Parliament,” she said.
The Minister was speaking yesterday at the media launch of the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS)/Swizzle Primary School Athletics Championships at the Wyndham Hotel in Kingston.
Formulation of a National Sports Policy is an important step in the development of sport as an industry in Jamaica, and it will ultimately enhance the country’s ability to continue to improve on its tradition of athletic excellence. It will include a programme through which Jamaica’s successes and opportunities created in sport, would be exploited.
In the meantime, Miss Grange is encouraging as many people as possible to come out and cheer on the students, who will be participating in the Primary School Athletics Championships from May 18 to 21 at the National Stadium.
She noted that the event is in keeping with efforts by Government “to place children at the centre of our development strategy. Through this initiative, we have been able to develop character, hone talent and contribute to Jamaica’s success in international athletics."
In his remarks, National Sports Co-ordinator, Glenn Mills, noted that the meet will give exposure to the young athletes.
“The concept of the meet is to allow the schools to display (all their talent) at the stadium so that the coaches at the next level can see, not just those who pass the line first, but even those who compete in the heats and show talent that needs development,” he said.
Chief Operating Officer at Seprod, the parent company of Swizzle, Carl Domville, said his company is pleased to be affiliated with the meet. “At Seprod, we believe in the development of both mind and body,” he said.
He noted that the championships are an integral part of the development of track and field in Jamaica. “Based on the age profile of the participants, these championships are usually viewed very seriously by persons interested in athletics, because they realise it gives them an indication as to what the successful participants are going to do later,” Mr. Domville said.
A total of 65 schools are expected to participate in this year’s championship with Swizzle contributing $4 million in sponsorship, and providing breakfast for the athletes on each day of competition.
The INSPORTS/Swizzle Primary School Athletics Championship held its first meet in 1981 as a traditional sports day event with five schools participating.
Some of the country’s most successful athletes have participated in the annual meet including World and Olympic 100-metre champion Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, and World and Olympic 400-metre hurdles champion Melaine Walker.
By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter