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Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange has said that her Ministry is committed to a renewed focus on sports as an element of national definition and transformation.
Miss Grange, who was making her contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on Tuesday (June 17), said that in addition to recreation and leisure, there are economic benefits to be derived from sports.
Outlining initiatives that will be taken to upgrade sports facilities and re-engage communities this year, Miss Grange said that the Government, through the Sports Development Foundation, has committed $104 million to construct 30 multipurpose courts in communities and schools, including one in an institution for specially challenged youngsters, to benefit residents of 10 parishes and 14 communities.
The allocation will also go towards upgrading/constructing nine playfields; the upgrading of sports complexes in communities; fencing 11 facilities (courts and playfields); and the rehabilitation of the GC Foster National Sports College and rehabilitation of the swimming pool.
The Minister said the country’s anti-doping programme is also on stream with the drafting of legislation Against Doping in Sports having been finalized; the establishment of an Anti-doping in Sports Unit; the establishment of a Board to administer the unit and manage the programme; and the revision of the Jamaica Policy Against Doping in Sports. In addition a National Sports Policy is being developed and will be unveiled before the end of the year.
“Sports plays a significant role in development cooperation. As one of the principal areas of proven competitive advantage, most of the deliberations on development strategies and assistance in bilateral treaties or with multi-lateral agencies feature some actions in support of co-operation in sports,” Minister Grange stated.