Gov’t understands the value of sports—Prime Minister

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Prime Minister Mark Phillips speaking at Guyana's inaugural Sports Conference

 Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d), the Honourable Mark Phillips on Sunday said that his Government understands the value of sports in the lives of its citizens and would continue to put systems in place to enhance its overall development in Guyana.

The Senior Government Official, who was the guest speaker at today’s inaugural Guyana Sports Conference at the National Cultural Centre, said that his Government has held as “a main priority” the creation of more opportunities for culture, youth, and sports activities because of the critical role that these assets play to overall development.

He noted that it would however take the combined effort of all stakeholders to ensure not only the success of programmes and strategies but the overall development of athletes.

“The approach of building a relationship of partnership with sports associations and federations is the only assured way to achieve sustainable national success in sport. Sport has a friend in my Government.”

Prime Minister Phillips said that his Government has led with the renovation and enhancement of facilities as its core objective for development this year. He noted that the Racquet Centre and the National Gymnasium are being transformed into modern day-night facilities with enhanced lights and security.

Additionally, he reminded that the National Stadium, which was opened to the public just last year, is being converted into a multi-sport facility with a basketball court, a volleyball court, and a new football ground.

Along with major construction work, which is being done at the new track and field sites in Linden and New Amsterdam, the Ministry has just completed the payment for two new track and field synthetic tracks to the sum of G$272M.

A new stand is also being built at the Leonora Track and Field Centre, along with a warm-up track, while a new pump was purchased for the National Aquatic Centre and a complete overhaul is being done to the Colgrain Swimming Pool.

“The exciting new work, which is being done has not been limited to just the Ministry’s facilities. There are 25 grounds across the country being upgraded for a total expenditure of G$250M. All of these projects at the various grounds have commenced and will be completed before the end of 2021.”

The Prime Minister added that some of the grounds will also have lights for night usage and that 42 1000-watt flood lamps and 800-watt LED lamps have already been delivered.

The Government, through the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, have also produced 17 lawnmowers and 17 brush cutters to supporting ground maintenance, which will be delivered from tomorrow.

The Prime Minister said that his Government realises that facilities alone will not aid in the overall development to which it inspires. “Even as we aspire to a world-class level in our sport sector, we acknowledge that we must ever continue to build our skill to achieve higher heights—that is where the [Guyana] Sports Academy comes in.”

The academy’s programmes would work on increasing inter-association collaboration, athletes’ development and improving systems pertaining to sport administration and governance.

“Sport today is a business—big business, a fact that we cannot deny. But more than its worth, the Government understands the value that sport has to the lives of our citizens, including the lessons it teaches about working together.”

The Prime Minister’s opening speech was followed by a presentation on the Guyana Sports Academy by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, the Honourable Charles Ramson Jr, followed by several panel discussions on sport development.

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