Port of Spain (Trinidad): Grenada’s Prime Minister Keith Mitchell wants his regional counterparts to see sports as a worthwhile investment for regional economic development.
Addressing the 34th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government which ended Saturday, Mitchell said the earnings from some of the Caribbean’s elite athletes are clear indications that if taken seriously, sports could generate economic activities within the region.
“The earnings top athletes could bring to the region, as well as the destination promotion through their feats, must make sport a worthwhile economic pursuit in which we must now consciously invest,” Mitchell told his colleagues.
He also reiterated an earlier call for the establishment of sporting academies to explore the sporting talents of the youth in the region.
“But we must accept that a lot of these world class athletes have been developed by chance; and we must also wonder about the many more talented ones that would have been left behind just because we have not had an organized system of developing and sustaining our athletes,” he said.
“The development of academies and centers of excellence are issues to be explored by sporting associations but with aggressive nudging and encouragement from our various ministries of sport.”
The Grenadian leader welcomed the Caribbean Premiere League (CPL) which bowls off later this month, saying that it’s an encouraging start in the professionalization of the sport in the region.
“The fact that nearly 75 of the region`s players will now be able to survive year-round, because of the CPL`s arrangement, we believe, is a development worthy of noting,” he noted.
“But we still have on-going concerns about the governance of the game in the region, and the need for the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to further democratize its operations and make more transparent its dealings.”