Push for ‘sports’ lifestyle planned to battle non-communicable diseases -Anthony

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr Frank Anthony says there will be a renewed push this year to get citizens to take up a sport in order to combat a rise of chronic non-communicable diseases.

“…It is our vision to have every Guyanese taking up a sport, whether as a recreation or at a professional level. It is important as a National Assembly we promote a sports lifestyle as against a sporting lifestyle,” Dr Anthony told the National Assembly on Friday when the debate on the government’s proposed budget continued.

“The [World Health Organisation] is predicting an increase in chronic non-communicable diseases because of inactivity and bad nutrition. The cheap way to eradicate sitting disease is through sport. So we are pleased by the generous allocation that was given to sports this year,” Anthony added.

He noted that in the last two years, $200M was spent on community facilities across all regions. “This had a positive impact on development of sports in the community. This year, the ministry would be spending $300M on the improvement of community facilities. I would urge all communities to start preparing their request so that as soon as the budget is passed we can start these programmes,” he said.

Anthony also announced that discussions have been concluded with the Commonwealth Youth Programme, which will fund a consultant to update the National Youth Policy. He said consultations on this document will start shortly.  “It is my hope that through these consultations that we will address issues such as male underperformance in the education system, youth health, youth violence, youth employment, youth voice in decision making, teen mothers and young families, among others,” he noted.

He also said a structure for a National Youth Award Scheme is being finalised and it would be implemented next year to recognise “leadership, excellence and innovation” by young people.

Outlining plans for culture, Anthony said a new series on Amerindian Languages Dictionaries would be published this year. He said the existing seven dictionaries for the Arawak, Karina, Wapishana, Makushi, Warau, Akawaio and Arekuna languages will be updated, while another two dictionaries for the Patamona and Wai Wai languages will be developed. “It is important that we preserve our linguistic heritage and publishing these dictionaries is one way of doing so,” he noted. He also mentioned plans for an indigenous song competition, which he said would also help to keep the languages alive.

Anthony also said that the ministry is working to digitise the holdings of the Walter Rodney National Archives, which would eventually allow citizens to access its database online.

He also updated the House on plans to set up an Institute of the Creative Arts. “To this end we have a group of experts headed by Professor Vibert Cambridge who is working on the theoretical underpinnings for this institute. This remains a work in progress,” he said.

He also said that work on a draft Archaeological Act, to protect archaeological sites, has started.

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