Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 03, 2020 (SKNIS)
A draft National Sports Policy for St. Kitts and Nevis is heading to the Cabinet for review and subsequent approval. The draft document was officially presented to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Sports, the Honourable Shawn Richards on May 29, 2020. At a brief ceremony, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Darryl Lloyd, said the policy would build a healthier and more physically active nation through sports. He added that it reflects international standards and is in keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The process to develop a comprehensive National Sports Policy began in 2017. Input was made along the way by several local and regional stakeholders, including the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat. The local government also sought assistance from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in support of this initiative. A consultant, Mark Mungal of Trinidad and Tobago, was contracted to spearhead the consultation with sporting associations in the federation as well as other relevant agencies and individuals.
Mr Mungal conducted wide-ranging discussions in March 2020, which lead to the final draft being produced.
Dorothy Warner, Secretary-General of the St. Kitts-Nevis National Commission of UNESCO, presented the draft document to Deputy Prime Minister Richards. She indicated that she was proud of the collaborative effort that has led up to its completion.
Honourable Richards noted that the National Sports Policy would chart a way forward for sports development within the federation and outlined the responsibility of government, national sporting associations, and other stakeholders in this endeavour.
The policy speaks to a more disciplined approach to organized sporting activities and the necessary sporting infrastructure. As a result, the on-field success of athletes is likely to increase opening additional doors to professional training for athletes, coaches and officials as well as increased opportunities for national squad selection, international student-athlete scholarships, and overseas recruitment to professional teams.
The deputy prime minister added that sports provide avenues for physical, social, emotional development of individuals. It also promotes community and national unity.
“Sports is powerful, and therefore it is important to us that we have that policy to guide sports here in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis,” he stated.
Deputy Prime Minister Richards thanked UNESCO for supporting the policy drafting process. He noted the organization’s role in assisting the federation to establish the first-ever National Youth Policy in 2017, as well as a Cultural Policy, which is currently being formulated. The National Youth Policy is widely praised as a potential model in CARICOM.
“I have no doubt that when we release our National Sports Policy that you will hear similar sentiments being expressed by persons. We are leaders, and we have to continue to lead,” Deputy Prime Minister Richards expressed.