Georgetown, Guyana — (December 28, 2017) Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. George Norton, this afternoon, handed over a number of fitness machines and some boxing equipment to the Guyana Prison Service at the Prison Service Sports Club, Bent Street, Georgetown.

The Minister handed over step machines, exercise bikes, punching bags, free weights with bars, exercise benches, boxing headgears, training gloves, push up bars, mouth guards and jockstraps, which will be used to resuscitate the Republican Boxing Gym, for which the Prison Service is responsible.

Minister Norton said that the use of the gear and equipment can aid in the rehabilitation of prisoners. “We have to give the opportunity to those persons to adopt [healthier] lifestyles and to make better use of their lives… It is the rehabilitation, the reorientation, the changes in values that are important. It is not that persons must go [to prison] to serve time and at the end of those years there is no improvement,” he said.

Reaffirming his commitment to improving the country’s athletic and sport performance prospects, Minister Norton said that the Ministry is also willing to do its part to support athletes, who are incarcerated. “We must recall the approach of our President… [his] idea of making these persons, who are institutionalised aware that the opportunity exists out there for them to add value to their lifestyle… That certainly is the best approach and we in the Ministry of Social Cohesion with responsibility [for] Sport will not be left behind. We know there are many sportsmen out there who are inmates and we’ll be happy if we could help them to continue in that discipline,” he said.

Director of Prisons, Mr. Gladwin Samuels said that the Republican Boxing Gym will once again be ready to compete. “I would like to put the other gyms on notice that despite the challenges we would have faced in 2017, come 2018 Republican Gym will be coming and coming strong… So to the Honourable Minister Norton and your team, I would like to say a special thanks to you… for the items that will be donated here today,” he said.

Minister Norton, who presented the fitness equipment alongside Director of Sport, Mr. Christopher Jones, reminded those present that boxing is especially sentimental to Guyanese because this is the only sport in which the country holds an Olympic Medal. Both Minister Norton and Mr. Jones acknowledged that this handover is just a start for the replacement of sporting assets lost during the July prison fire.

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