Consultations on National Sports Policy begin

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As part of the Guyana government’s plan to complete a much-needed National Sports Policy to ensure that sports develop positively, the first in a series of consultations with Sports Federation and Associations was conducted on Friday at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.

A draft document would be issued shortly but in the meantime, the Ministry of Education Department of Sport as the lead Ministry responsible for Sport hosted the interface with the objective of meeting with a view to engendering their feedback into what would ultimately become the National Sports Policy.

The consultations that are scheduled for hosting in the various administrative regions over time is a primary Government initiative that has been high on Minister Nicolette Henry’s agenda since 2016. Amidst her preamble, the Minister noted that “at the end of the day (the overall consultations) we want a policy that will work for Guyana.”

Noting that her expectation was that more representatives of Federations and Associations would have been in attendance, Minister Henry posited that there are more than 43 groups that were invited to the consultation. However, there are other opportunities to be had as more consultations are planned to ensure wide participation in the process that will lead to an all-inclusive Sports Policy.

Minister Henry informed too that “a paper on culture was laid in Cabinet and will become a full policy in Guyana by year end and it is hoped that the same could be done for Sports.”

Further, she encouraged participants to “connect the dots of the announcement that there is a focus on teacher’s intake at the Cyril Potter College of Education which is giving priority to those who are interested in Physical Education.”

Melissa Dow-Richardson, Assistant Director of Sport, who is the lead coordinator on the project, said the aim of the consultations is to focus on the fundamental principles of sports in addition to examining critical policy issues in sports. Other areas of focus of the public consultation were: governance, accountability, on ensuring a safe and secure environment, discrimination, harassment and athlete development.

 Also addressed were subjects such as sports administration, coaching and training, sports financing, tourism and intellectual property rights. With regards to the media, specific focus was on their roles and responsibilities in addition to its rights.

The role of the diaspora as well as the future of sports in Guyana with a focus on garnering suggestions towards a development pathway for ultimate implementation, compliance, monitoring and evaluation as part of the National Sports Policy.

Dow-Richardson, addressing those gathered, said, “When we look at sports we are not operating in isolation. There are over 28 Olympic sports disciplines and in Guyana most have representation and our aim is to develop a policy that takes us to another level.”

She noted that the national sport of Circle Tennis, created by Guyana, should be projected as one like the road tennis in Barbados that could become an Olympic sport. “Sport is a living functionality that can be taken to the next level for local, regional and International acclaim and this policy gives us the opportunity to ensure that it happens in Guyana for Guyanese.”

From the consultation she advised that her team will take shared values of sports that go beyond gender, age or ethnicity to encourage respect, competition, fair play and discipline as hallmarks of the National Sports Policy.

Raj Singh, a representative of the Guyana Cricket Board, expressed gratitude for the Minister’s efforts and announced plans to hopefully have the policy for sports completed and tabled and passed in Parliament by year-end. (Department of Culture, Youth and Sport Press Release)

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