Sports has key role in economy
-- Anthony
Guyana Chronicle
February 13, 2007

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MINISTER of Culture, Youth and Sports, Dr. Frank Anthony has asserted that sports is not a trivial matter and is an important contributor to the economy.

It is, he said yesterday, a stimulator of growth in many sub-sectors such as construction, housing, environmental enhancement, tourism and hospitality services.

Speaking in the National Assembly during debate on the national budget, Anthony noted that in the budget presented by Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh, sports was not “relegated to insignificance but generously punctuated his speech.”

He observed, too, that activities connected with Cricket World Cup (CWC) and other major events this year, apart from the traditional industries of sugar, rice and mining and the quarrying sector, will be a significant contributor to the projected economic growth of 4.9% this year.

Apart from economic benefits, Anthony stressed that sports have important social benefits, including improvements in individual and community health, reduction in crime rates, inculcation of discipline and character, development of a fair sense of play, improvement in the delivery of quality education, improvement in gender quality, and empowerment of women and contribution to peace by bridging ethnic and social cleavages.

As such, he said his ministry has embarked on a process to finalise a National Sports Policy, and in this regard a series of consultations was started with various stakeholders and this is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

In addition, he said, intensive consultations with community groups, sports associations, coaches and the media, among others, are ongoing to formulate a national strategic plan for sports.

The focus of this plan is on revitalisation of community sports, school sports, sports administration and management and improvement of specific sports discipline, Anthony said, adding that the process is being facilitated and coordinated by the National Sports Commission and it is anticipated that it will result in a coherent, relevant and transparent national strategic plan for the next five years.