JIS News

Minister of Information, Culture, Youth, and Sports, Olivia Grange, has said that the upcoming International Congress on Sport for Peace and Development, will go a long way in helping countries to develop their sport policies, as well as their understanding of the role of sport in nation building.
The Minister was speaking at a press briefing to launch the event, at the Ministry’s headquarters on September 11. The Congress will be held in Kingston from September 13 to 16.
“It is my expectation that at the end of the Congress, we will have produced a template to assist countries to develop their sports policies, and to have a greater understanding of how sports can assist the development process,” she said.
“The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the international community, have been doing a rethink on the role of sport as a change agent, and there is now a growing awareness that sport has a critical role to play in national development,” she added.
The Congress is a collaborative venture between the Ministry and UNESCO, and Miss Grange is of the view that, given Jamaica’s recent success at the Beijing Olympics, the timing of the Congress is perfect.
“For us in Jamaica, this conference comes at an important juncture. We have just witnessed the tremendous achievements of our athletes in Beijing, and the national euphoria that this has generated. The challenge that we face, is not to let this moment pass. We have to explore creative ways of channelling the energy, that has been unleashed, into the stimulation of social harmony and the generation of national unity,” she said.
A cadre of international dignitaries and distinguished experts, public authorities, and stakeholders of the sporting community from different regions in the world, will be in attendance to make presentations.
They will engage in debates and share information and expertise, with the aim of ensuring that all participating countries leave the Congress with the skills and knowledge, to make sport a significant contributor to peace and development.
In an interview with JIS News, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Faith Innerarity, who was also at the press briefing, provided information on some of the dignitaries who will be present at the congress.
“Our Prime Minister will be an honoured guest and the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony. At that official opening, we will also have the Assistant Secretary General of UNESCO in the Human Services Sector, Mr. Pierre Sane, and a representative of the International Olympic Committee (IOC),” she pointed out.
There will be delegations from various member countries of the Intergovernmental Committee on Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS), of which Jamaica is a member.
“We are expecting Sports Ministers from several CARICOM countries to participate, the Bahamas, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, and we also expect officials from Barbados, and St. Lucia,” Mrs. Innerarity noted.
Explaining the schedule for the conference, the Permanent Secretary pointed out that there would be two round tables. “On the first day of the Conference, the focus will be on Sport for Peace and Development in the Caribbean. In this context, we will have presentations by a former and a current Parliamentarian, who have been involved in sporting development activities in their respective constituencies.”
“These persons are the former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, and Dr. Omar Davies, the former Minister of Finance. Both gentlemen have had developmental activities in their constituencies, aimed at community cohesion and integration,” she added.
Miss Grange will also be participating in that round table, along with another CARICOM Sport Minister. This round table will be moderated by Professor Rex Nettleford, of the University of the West Indies (UWI).
For the second round table, Mrs. Innerarity noted that it “will focus on Sport for Peace and Development, looking at Social, Economical, Educational, Cultural, Environmental, and Political dimensions, and here we will have the President of CIGEPS, Mr. Kamal Guemmar.”
There will also be an open debate among CIGEPS members, and Professor Errol Morrison, President of the University of Technology (UTECH), will make a presentation focussing on some sport and health issues. Additionally, there will be presentations from Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other specialists.
CIGEPS, of which many of the participants are members, has responsibility for monitoring the outcomes of conferences of Ministers and senior officials responsible for Education and Sport. This takes place within the context of UNESCO, which, under its human services division for social and human services, has been involved in sport issues since the 1950s.
Members of the 18 countries that make up CIGEPS, are drawn from Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Jamaica, Cuba, and Ecuador are currently the three representative countries from the region.