Minister Skerrit Opens ICHPER-SD Conference

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis (May 11, 2007)

Minister of State with responsibility for Sport Hon. Richard Skerritt officially opened the inaugural Caribbean Conference of the International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance (ICHPER-SD) on Friday.

Governor General His Excellency Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, Acting Prime Minister Hon. Sam Condor and Deputy Premier in the Nevis Island Administration Hon. Hensley Daniel were among senior government officials attending the opening held at the Royal St. Kitts Hotel and Casino in Frigate Bay.

Minister Skerritt welcomed the ICHPER-SD officials, which included President Dr. Dong Ja Yang and the regional Secretary General Mark Mungal, and other visiting sporting officials and all delegates describing them as “outstanding and hardworking servants of youth development.”

“All of you are here because of your commitment and dedication to the health, fitness and general well being of the communities and the societies where you live and work,” the minister of state said. “I hope that (this) conference will ? reinvigorate your enthusiasm, if thatt is needed and strengthen your commitment, wherever that is possible.”Noting the large numbers of local delegates participating in this two-day conference, Minister Skerritt said he was encouraged and pledged to continue to provide effective and conscientious leadership. The conference essentially establishes the Caribbean as the eighth geographical region of ICHPER-SD.

“This move has undoubtedly created a new vision for collaboration within or region in physical education, sport and dance, with obvious benefits to the personal health, performance and the holistic development of our Caribbean young people in particular,” explained Minister Skerritt. “This Caribbean initiative must serve as a foundation upon which programmes to further develop the capabilities of our professionals can be built.”

The minister highlighted the importance of including technology and encouraged the educators, administrators, teachers and professionals in carrying out their respective duties.

“Your conference theme “˜Creating Together a New Vision for ICHPER-SD Caribbean’ is a clear indication of your aspirations and I applaud you for its choice,” he stated. “Togetherness is a powerful concept often articulated, but not often achieved or even understood. Let us make sure that this inaugural conference is remembered for its genuine togetherness and that it sets high standards of usefulness and effectiveness for similar conferences which will follow in the future.”

Several presentations were made prior to the close of the ceremony. President Yang saluted Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas for his sterling leadership throughout the international community on various regional matters. Deputy Prime Minister Condor and Minister Skerritt received a gold medal from ICHPER-SD for their “contributions and visionary leadership” in sport.

Certificates were also given to representatives from the various local and regional sporting institutions present, among which were the St. Kitts and Nevis Alliance for Sport, Physical Education and Recreation (SKANASPER), CARICOM Sports Desk, Organisation of Caribbean Administrators of Sport and Physical Education.

Dr. Yang received a souvenir gift from SKANASPER President Stanley Knight on behalf of his organization and the local organizing committee.

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