JIS News

Sports of all types, inclusive of track and field, netball and swimming, continue to play a distinctive role in the social cohesion and integration of persons hailing from different countries within the Caribbean.
This was the assessment made by Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Portia Simpson Miller in her address at a banquet and awards ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU). The ceremony was held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Sunday (March 5). Minister Simpson Miller extended congratulations to the CFU on achieving a significant milestone in its rendering of service to the field of sport.
Speaking of the unifying element that sports could have, the Minister said: “The truth is that sports in general has been pulling us all closer together.and as we move forward in the establishment of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, let us remember that the sporting fraternity has always led the way in regional cultural exchange, cooperation and collaboration.”
She pointed out that sports have “served as a vehicle for the promotion of opportunity, self worth and dignity” and has also “been a major force in cultural development, helping to impart values of teamwork and leadership, excellence and citizenship”.
Minister Simpson Miller told the gathering at the ceremony that the sports community was a viable avenue that could be used in order to further economic cooperation and other joint efforts between Caribbean countries.
“The only hope for us in the Caribbean, with states that are small in size, is to face the world as a solid bloc. Togetherness is the technique that is being used in other areas of the world . in the Americas, in Europe and elsewhere,” she said.
Observing that sports was big business, Minister Simpson Miller implored Caribbean governments to pay more attention to sports in the region by investing in more sporting facilities and the development of the region’s sportsmen and women.
“On its own (sports), is a crowd puller and linked with tourism, it can bring great economic benefits to the region, if we are able to develop the product and to package and present it properly,” she stated. The awards ceremony came on the heels of the opening of the Caribbean Football Union’s Marketing Division, which took place on March 6.
Persons honoured at the awards ceremony were former presidents of the Jamaica Football Federation, Locksley Comrie and Patrick Anderson; FIFA referee, Hubert Tromp; Joseph Ursulet of Martinique and Dr. Jacques Guy Rugard of Guadeloupe. Former West Indian cricketer, Courtney Walsh, was also honoured for his contribution to regional cricket.

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