Georgetown, Guyana – (September 24, 2017) Acting President and Prime Minister, Mr. Moses Nagamootoo, today, called on the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) and the Commonwealth Games Federation to develop strategies to use sport to foster an overcoming spirit in the Region’s youth, in the wake of the losses that they would have suffered during the recent hurricanes, which ravaged several Caribbean islands. Similar sentiments were expressed by Minister of Social Cohesion, with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. George Norton, who shared the view that the Region’s youth must be given the maximum support in this vein, as they prepare for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Further, in an effort to ensure that Guyanese athletes make a tangible contribution to ongoing hurricane relief efforts, the Minister said that, in collaboration with the Guyana Football Federation, plans are in train to host a combined Indigenous versus National football fundraising match. Both the Prime Minister and the Minister expressed these views at the Commonwealth Games Federation Regional Conference of the Americas and Caribbean, which was held at the Olympic House, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara.

The Prime Minister said Guyana stands in solidarity and sympathy, and offers its support to those persons in the Region, who must now rebuild their lives. He said that the values of sacrifice, overcoming and triumph which are inherent in sport, can have a positive impact on persons’ psyches at this time. “Sports for me represents the human value that rises above difficulties, that rises against challenge, that overcome, eventually, and soar higher above all of these challenges [that] we may face so we have a responsibility to use sports to help to rebuild, to use sports as you know to meet the other many challenges that policies and strategies that governments cannot remedy successfully or completely,” he said.

Minister Norton shared similar sentiments and he noted that the role of youth, culture and sport ties together to engender a spirit of unity. As such it is used by the Ministry of Social Cohesion to execute its mandate to promote inter-ethnic co-operation. The Minister also noted that youths can draw strength from their past triumphs during challenging times and as such he is committed to working with the GOA and all other stakeholders to ensure that Guyana’s youth can increase its medal tally and ranking at the Commonwealth Games. “My mission is to increase Guyana’s medal tally and ranking in the shortest possible time [and I want] to ensure that our athletes are given the necessary support to represent Guyana effectively in April 2017 at the Commonwealth Games in Australia,” he said.

Meanwhile, Saint Lucia Minister of Culture and Commonwealth Games Federation Regional Vice-President of the Caribbean, Senator Fortuna Belrose echoed similar sentiments, noting that the GOA’s achievements are an important testimony for how the Commonwealth body wants to position sport “by attracting and building on public/private social partnerships that widely benefit our athletes, our community and sports in general”.

Director of Sport, Mr. Christopher Jones, GOA President, Mr. Kalam A. Juman-Yassin, Secretary of the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association, Dr. Karen Pilgrim, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Ms. Louise Martin, Minister of Sports, Antigua and Barbuda and President of the Antigua and Barbuda Olympic Association and Senator Chet Greene and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative for Guyana and Suriname, Ms. Sylvie Fouet also attended the conference.

Immediately following the Conference, Dr. Norton presented a number of T-shirts to the members of the Enterprise Starts Cricket team, which is representing the Ministry of Social Cohesion at the Georgetown edition of Heritage Games being held the Everest Cricket Club, Camp Street. The Games are also being held at the Kuru Kururu Development Centre, Soesdyke-Linden Highway as part of the calendar of Indigenous Heritage Month of activities.

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