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(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) — Plans to establish a Regional Sports Academy (RSA) that will focus on the use of sports as a vehicle for deepening regional integration were formalised recently when the Task Force set up to oversee the process held its first meeting in Suriname.

The meeting of the Regional Sports Academy Task Force took place from July 13-15 in Paramaribo, to discuss major considerations and key parameters to advance the establishment of the Academy.

The Members of the Task Force include officials of the Trinidad and Tobago Alliance for Sport and Physical Education, Mr. Mark Mungal and Mr. Andre Collins; Director of Sport, Saint Lucia, Mr. Victor Reid; Director of Sport, St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Dave Connor; Programme Manager, Human Resource Development, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Dr. Morella Joseph; Deputy Programme Manager, Sport Development, CARICOM Secretariat, Mr. John Campbell; and Permanent Secretary within the Ministry with responsibility for Sport, Suriname, Mr. Michael Watson.

An initiative of the Government of Suriname, the RSA is being set up with broad objectives including regional integration, sport studies and development; talent identification and development; sport tourism and research.

In addition to being outfitted with dormitories, the institution when completed will have facilities for soccer, track and field, swimming and volleyball among others. The initiative comes at a time when, regionally, increased focus is being placed on the value of sport in fostering development in CARICOM.

A brand style competition, which ends on August 8, has been launched to familiarise and inspire the participation of CARICOM nationals in the process of establishing the Academy in respect of the design of its logo, letterhead and business card. 

Endorsement of the initiative has come from international sporting icon Clarence Seedorf, who has already donated a building in Paramaribo to be used as part of the RSA infrastructure.