Sports may be the answer Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
February 5, 2002

THE universal benefits of sports to health and the wellbeing of society are of course beyond argument.

Hence, no one could doubt that in Guyana there is need for greater involvement of the populace in sports and for improved facilities if sports is to be more systematically and better organised.

There is already a good foundation in terms of national administration, with a ministry under a specific minister who has responsibility for sports; and there is the National Sports Commission that overlooks the day-to-day running of sports.

However, the administration and organisation of local sports has to be done in a more scientific and professional manner. It must be treated as part of national life and a sports vision must be put into perspective.

Unfortunately, most people still see sports as something on which money has to be spent, instead of being a money earner.

But it is not necessarily so, because a high standard of sports and facilities to host international competitions could actually earn vital foreign exchange for this country.

International sports events here would become an attraction for tourists, and this would trigger off a host of spin-off benefits especially for commerce and business.

It will be argued that Guyana is a developing nation with limited resources available to be channelled into this area.

But that can be countered with the example of Cuba, a sports powerhouse, which has one of the best organised sports development systems in the world and is very advanced in sports medicine and administration. Cuba is by no means a rich country.

It is therefore regrettable that it is taking so long for a national sports stadium to materialise. More recently there have been reports that Guyana may lose the football stadium which FIFA will fund, because of administrative bungling somewhere down the line.

Guyana has been producing sports personalities of international repute, with Andrew 'Sixhead' Lewis holding its first world boxing title. It is clear that there is tremendous potential and talent which must be given an opportunity to blossom.

Perhaps sports should be made an integral part of the education system instead of being an appendage.

There must be genuine efforts to de-centralise sports and with most of the community centres rehabilitated, the facilities should not be too difficult to obtain.

Training for sports administrators and coaches has to be intensified and in this area, more help can be sought from China, Cuba and other countries.

There must be a comprehensive programme with a vision for sports development if Guyana is to make significant strides in providing the opportunity for its youths especially, to fully develop their talents.

The national policy says the future of this country is heavily dependent on how well equipped the youths are.

The answer to the quest for national unity, so essential to the advancement of economic and national objectives, may also lie in the arena of sports.