2006 sports awardees receive prizes ...
Government will continue to invest heavily in sports - Minister of Finance By Faizool Deo
Guyana Chronicle
March 11, 2007

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MINISTER of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, delivered a pleasing message to sporting personalities in his address at the 2006 National Sports Commission (NSC) Sports Awards ceremony on Friday night at the National Cultural Centre when he reassured the government’s support for sports.

Singh, who filled in for Minister of Culture Youth and Sport, Dr Frank Anthony (who is representing Guyana in Jamaica for today’s opening of the 2007 West Indies Cricket World Cup) said that the Government recognises the importance of sport not just for its physical capabilities, but for its powerful ability to unite a nation.

He reflected on the unity of all Guyanese when Guyana competed in the Stanford 20/20 cricket competition last year.

The well-spoken Singh said that the government is already working on a national sports plan - a plan which is focusing on community-based sports, school sports and fitness programmes.

He said that they (the government) see community sport as an important tool to promote social integration, and to keep young people away from the negative factors in society.

In respect to the school sports, Singh said that coaches will be looking for talent at an early age so that future athletes can be properly trained and can be developed to their fullest potential.

According to Singh, sports is not just important for social cohesion but it is an extremely important economic tool in today’s commercial world.

He pointed to the great benefits of the 2007 Cricket World Cup to Guyana, singling out the financial benefits for the country.

Adding that with the number of people travelling to Guyana and looking at their television sets and radios it will help sell Guyana to the world.

Singh also said that the government is working on rehabilitating a number of tennis courts, building an Olympic-size swimming pool and building two sport complexes.

Those pleasing words were not all that received much applause, since the 2006 sports winners were also presented.

Squash sensation Nicolette Fernandes who is a regular winner at the NSC awards again collected her trophy in humility.

Runner Cleveland Forde (who was named the sportsman-of-the-year), boxer Gairy St Clair (runner-up sportsman-of-the-year) and golfer Christine Sukhram (runner-up sportswoman-of-the-year) were absent.

The first two now reside overseas. Forde is in Kenya and St Clair is in Australia while Sukhram is representing Guyana this weekend at the 2007 RBTT N.V. Invitational golf competition in Suriname.

Also receiving awards were: Taruna Patrick (outstanding person with disability); swimmer Niall Roberts (junior sportsman-of-the-year); cricketer Gajanand Singh (runner-up junior sportsman-of-the-year); table tennis player Trenace Lowe (junior sportswoman-of-the-year); middle distance runner Alika Morgan - not present - (runner-up junior sportswoman-of-the-year); the national Twenty20 cricket team (sports team-of-the-year); national cricket coach Albert Smith (sports coach-of-the-year); Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira (male sports personality-of-the-year); Dr Karen Pilgrim (female sports personality-of-the-year); the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association (the most improved association-of-the-year); the Guyana Rugby Football Union (the Sports Association-of-the-year); Kaieteur News’ Rawle Welch (sports journalist-of-the-year - print); NCN’s Leeron Brumell (sports journalist-of-the-year – non-print) and Guyana Chronicle’s Winston Oudkerk (sports photographer-of-the-year).

Director of Sports Neil Kumar also delivered an address.