Minister with responsibility for Sports in the Office of the Prime Minister, Natalie Neita-Headley, says a review of the Green Paper for the revised National Sports Policy is progressing smoothly.
She said the consultation process is being co-ordinated by a team, headed by the Hon. Michael ‘Mike’ Fennel, which has volunteered its services and time to assist with ensuring that the process takes place quickly.
"We have really given ourselves until June. The sports policy did not get the benefit of a thorough process of consultation, so we are actually working backwards. We are now ensuring that the ideas that came out of the policy document, initiated earlier in the 2000s, will be incorporated in what is going to be the final paper that is going to be the policy document," the Minister told JIS News in an interview last week.
Mrs. Neita-Headley pointed out that the vision and ideas of Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, will be incorporated in the document.
"She has a great passion for sports, and the policy will also incorporate some of what I think is going to be very important in ensuring that we see sports as a business here in Jamaica and not just as something for a good time," she added.
According to the Minister, the policy will not only ensure that the country “earns tremendously” from the sporting industry, but that it appeals to all facets of “who we are, our recreation, our community development and our career development."
Meanwhile, Mrs. Neita-Headley said she will be focusing on improving conditions at the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sports in St. Catherine. Recently, ground was broken at the College for the construction of the first international standardised baseball field in Jamaica.
She informed that the establishment of a proper sports museum, a wellness centre for athletes and sport goods manufacturing are among the areas of focus for the development of sports.
Mrs. Neita-Headley said the Ministry will be working quickly on the re-establishment of a National Sports Council, which will serve as an Advisory Board to all sporting agencies.
“There’s no cohesive or harmonious body that is pulling it all together and I think that is one of the first things that we can accomplish,” she added.
By E. Hartman Reckord, JIS PRO