Approximately 41 representatives of community groups and sporting organisations in Trelawny, St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland, took part in a regional consultation on the National Sports Policy (Green Paper), at the Montego Bay Civic Centre, on June 7.
This was the sixth in a series of national consultations on the policy, which was tabled in Parliament, in November 2011.
Through the consultations, Minister with responsibility for Sports, Hon. Natalie Neita-Headley, is seeking to ensure that areas covered in the policy are those of interest to the stakeholders.
Acting Chief Technical Director, Planning and Development Division, Office of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Colette Roberts-Risden, in outlining the basis for the discussions, noted that nationally, sport is very important, as it carries potential economic, social and health benefits, among others.
She pointed out that the consultations started about a month ago with umbrella groups, schools, government agencies and sporting associations.
“Now we are conducting a series of regional consultations with people on the ground involved in sports – community groups, the sporting groups who operate within the parishes and within the communities,” she pointed out.
She added that the intention is to continue the consultations for another two weeks, in time for the compilation of the views, and for the White Paper to be tabled in Parliament by the end of July.
Senior Advisor to Minister Neita-Headley, Mrs. Dahlia Klein, who spoke on her behalf, said the Minister is very excited at the opportunity to reach the stakeholders in the communities through the consultations.
“What the Minister feels is that we should not have a policy developed that is not inclusive of what our community, and persons on the ground think or expect a policy should represent,” she said.
She argued that the consultations are aimed at garnering the “buy-in” of everyone, before the implementation stage becomes a reality.
Meanwhile, in an interview with JIS News, Mrs. Roberts-Risden, said that the feedback from the consultations held so far has been very positive, with several positive ideas coming to the fore.
She said that there are four more consultations to be held, two regional and two with specific groups.
President of the Trelawny Chamber of Commerce, Richard Burke, who was present at the Montego Bay consultation, told JIS News that he found the session very useful.
By Bryan Miller, JIS Reporter