A call by acting President Moses Nagamootoo urging the Commonwealth Federation to unite through sports was made yesterday at Olympic House (Liliendaal) during his keynote address at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) meeting of the Americas and the Caribbean.
Nagamootoo spoke in the presence of several key Commonwealth figures at the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) facilitated two-day meeting where a number of important issues regarding the Caribbean and the Americas involvement in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2022 edition were discussed.
According to the elected Prime Minister, who is currently performing the duties of Head-of-State in the absence of President David Granger, sports and athletes should be used as avenues to bring recognition to one’s country as well as to be a voice for world issues like the hurricanes which have wrecked several Caribbean islands.
Nagamootoo, who heads a Ministerial Task Force responsible for overseeing the Civil Defence Commission’s (CDC) National Risk Reduction Platform’s efforts in Guyana’s bid to support the hurricane-affected Caribbean territories also challenged those in attendance to use the Commonwealth Games and the federation to help rebuild the hurricane-ravished islands.
Hurricanes Irma, Jose, Maria and Harvey have wreaked havoc on the northern Caribbean island chain, leaving several islands in ruins and has forced a number of residents to evacuate.
Said Nagamootoo:“We all feel an elevation of the spirit and we all feel that we are triumphant because sports represents for me, the human value that rises above difficulties and challenges.”
He added:“We have a responsibility to use sports to help to rebuild, to meet the many challenges, the policies and strategies that governments cannot remedy successfully. Drug abuse, the crime epidemic, particularly among young people and sports we count on to deal with these social scorches, and every time you plan a Commonwealth Games and you mobilize in all our countries, it would help to bring young people into the centre of the pitch,” said Nagamootoo.
Meanwhile, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Louise Martin, called on the participants of the conference to stand in a moment of silence as they remembered the victims of the destructive hurricanes.
Martin also encouraged the countries to continue working together, developing together and celebrating together as they strive to embody the theme of the Commonwealth, which is “A Peace Building Commonwealth”.
St. Lucia’s Minister of Culture and Commonwealth Games Federation Regional Vice-President of the Caribbean, Senator Fortuna Belrose, echoed the Prime Minister’s sentiments, pointing out that the GOA’s achievement is an important testimony for how the Commonwealth wants to position sport “by attracting and building on public/private social partnerships that widely benefit our athletes, our community and sports in general”.
The 2018 Common-wealth Games, officially known as the XXI Commonwealth Games and commonly known as Gold Coast 2018, is an international multi-sport event for members of the Commonwealth will be held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia from April 4 to 15.
Director of Sport, Christopher Jones, GOA President, K. Juman-Yassin, Secretary of the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association, Dr. Karen Pilgrim, Minister of Sport, Dr. George Norton, President of the Antigua and Barbuda Olympic Association and Senator Chet Greene and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative for Guyana and Suriname, Sylvie Fouet, were some of the notable attendees of the conference.