KINGSTON, Jamaica – Monday, April 18, 2016 – The Honourable Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange has signaled that her Ministry, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, is in the process of developing a national framework for the mobilization of more Jamaicans to participate in various forms of physical activity that contribute to mental and physical fitness, facilitate social interaction and foster social cohesion while building bridges of friendship at all levels of the Jamaican society.
In a statement, delivered by Permanent Secretary, Alison McLean at the Sports for National Development Symposium at the University of Technology Jamaica, held in observance of World Heritage Day 2016, commemorated under the theme ‘The Heritage of Sport’, Minister Grange said in order to broaden the understanding of sport in national development, greater attention must be paid to the human aspects.
“The first consideration must be to look at sport as a means to achieve good health,” the Minister said, explaining that “If every citizen were healthy and performing at optimal capacity there would be higher productivity and hence a more vibrant economy.”
According to the Minister, the framework will also take into consideration the important role sports play in building strong character and confidence and “therefore prepare our young people to be in a better position to meet challenges in a highly competitive world”.
Another area to be addressed is maximizing the potential sports have in acting as a bonding agent between communities and serving as a tool for peace.
“We need to look at sport from a national point of view as one of the means with immense potentials to resolve conflicts and to create cohesiveness in our society by promoting unity within this nation. When sport talents are discovered and developed to the highest level this can serve to bridge the gap in communities affected by tribalism,” Minister Grange said.
She explained that as Jamaica’s sports men and women continue to awe the rest of the world with its sporting prowess, the time has come for sport to be seen from the point of view of national strategic development not only in terms of economic viability but also in terms of human resources and development.
While admitting that the move will pose some amount of challenge, the Minister affirmed that “My team and I are up to the challenge.”
The symposium featured key presentations from Olympian, Grace Jackson; President, West Indies Players Association, Wavell Hinds; Senior Director, Sports, Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Florette Blackwood; Director, Sports, University Technology Jamaica, Anthony Davis; Principal, GC Foster College, Joyce Graham Royal; and Founder of Team Jamaica Bickle, Irwine Clare who joined the discussion via phone.
The 2016 observance of World Heritage Day moved away from the traditional recognition of monuments and sites only and brought into focus the seamless linkage between tangible and intangible heritage assets in recounting history. This year, the emphasis has been placed on an important element of a people’s heritage, sport.