March 25, 2008
Minister of Sports in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) the Hon. Hensley Daniel said athletes represented the regions greatest hope for the future of the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) games. He called on sports agencies across the Caribbean to pay special attention to the athletes in their localities to ensure even better performances in future games.
Mr. Daniel made the statement while he welcomed delegates for the 37th Congress of CARIFTA games on Sunday March 23rd at the Four Seasons Resort.
“I am particularly asking that we use this opportunity in that context to ensure that the St Kitts and Nevis Amateur Athletic Association (SKNAAA) which is based in St. Kitts and the Nevis Amateur Athletic Association (NAAA) which is based in Nevis find creative ways of ensuring that both athletes on both sides of the Narrows ensure tremendous success.
“And as such we want to ensure that our engagement with North American and Caribbean Associations Council (NACAC) and all the other agencies pay some attention to our athletes in their locality so that in the next CARIFTA and succeeding CARIFTA events we will have more athletes and we will be able to see a greater display of performance,” he said.
He noted that the games came at a time when St. Kitts and Nevis had been accommodating a number of sporting teams from around the world and when Nevis in particular was celebrating excellence through sports.
“Just last week we hosted an international triathlon event with athletes from more than 25 countries right here in Nevis and I was amazed we had timers flown in from Mexico and judges flown in from South and Central America for an event right here in Nevis. So I think CARIFTA comes at a time when we are paying particular attention to sports. In those events Reggie Douglas a local triathlon athlete excelled,” he said, while he congratulated Maritzer Williams, a Nevisian athlete at the CARIFTA games who had won the first medal for the St. Kitts and Nevis team.
He further stated that the hosting of 26 teams for CARIFTA 37 as well as hosting the world’s most prestigious cricket club the Marylebourne Cricket Club out of England for a period of two weeks, should be evidence that the government of St. Kitts and Nevis was using sports to promote interpersonal and international relations.
The Sports Minister underscored the responsibilities of the CARIFTA Congress delegates which he said included using sports to reduce anti-social behavior, improve discipline at the community level, foster the development of interpersonal relationships and to widen and deepen the integration process in the Caribbean.
“I urge you the delegates to ensure that we bring to the fore our very best athletes, I urge you to ensure that we provide for our young people that avenue through sports where they can excel and I believe so far in 37 years the CARIFTA games has done that but I believe we are challenged with some other social issues throughout our Caribbean societies.
“I wish that, we together collaboratively, can ensure that we work much harder to push sports at the top of our national agenda , that sports will help us to reduce anti social behavior across the region so that our athletes to become the beneficiaries of our tremendous efforts,” he said.
Meantime Minister of State with responsibility for Sports in the Federal Parliament, the Hon. Ricky Skerritt commended the Congress for CARIFTA in helping to build characters, skills and to build quality citizens of the Caribbean.
“I commend you for your work to strengthen and fortify your resolve to continue your work to learn each year from the experiences in each country and to build on it.
“I take this opportunity to say how proud I am to have been part of the 37th CARIFTA games and I pledge our Federal Government and I’m sure from my colleague in the NIA to do everything we can to build bridges wherever they need building and to strengthen those that are already in place, he said.
Prior to the CARIFTA Congress the delegates were taken on an island tour and hosted a luncheon by Minister of Sports and Social Development at the Four Seasons Resort.
Also in attendance at the CARIFTA Congress were sponsors, members of the SKNAAA, and the local organising committee for the 37th CARIFTA games.