President Ali advocates for a ‘bottom-up’ approach to develop Sport and Culture
By Akeem Greene
To bolster the development of Culture and Sport in Guyana, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has posited that generic grassroot development is vital for the overall success of the sectors, and by large, the entire country.
“It is important that we understand that the development of sports and culture must be a bottom-up approach, it cannot be a top-down approach,” President Ali stated on Thursday as he inspected the first batch of driving lawn mowers and brush cutters being donated to 25 grounds under the Ground Enhancement Programme.
“When you are looking for talent and you are looking to support the growth of talents and the growth of athletes in the different communities it has to be an investment that is bottom-up.”
President Ali indicated the approach of the Government and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport will be one of “community engagement” and once they build such an integration, “it will result in the One Guyana we want to create.”
Night facilities for each Region
The Head-of-State also revealed plans to have facilities in each region that can facilitate sport at night.
“By the time we get to next year, every single region in the country has a proper night facility that you can play sports; every single region must have at least one proper night facility, and then in the larger regions we have more facilities.”
At the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) level, the President said they want to put one facility which can stimulate interest in sports and community health and advance the government’s effort in promoting sport and culture.
While still looking to invest in the three multi-purpose facilities, they are also looking how they can improve facilities within the city to promote wellness, which helps them to invest less in primary healthcare.
“You will see continuously more investment in sport,” the President stated. “The budget is one aspect; you can have a large budget but if you don’t have the energy in the sector to take it forward, and what we are seeing from all the sectors including sport, is the level of energy that is pushing the sector.”
This year, Sport was given a major boost with $1.5 billion budgeted to facilitate development programmes throughout the country.
From the overall amount, $915.5 million was allocated for the improvement of community grounds countrywide, to expand their use as parks, and create premium, multi-purpose, sporting facilities of international standards in Regions Two, Six and 10.
In June, the National Assembly had approved an additional $186.4 million to facilitate more infrastructural works through the Ground Enhancement Programme.
The sum of $618 million will be utilised to host tournaments, maintain sport facilities and support select sport associations.
Of this amount, $320 million is budgeted towards professional training of athletes and coaches as part of the ‘Sports Academy’ programme, which will soon be launched by the Ministry.