BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Barbados’ Junior Economic Affairs Minister, Marsha Caddle, has pointed to Centres of Excellence as the way forward, if the country and the region is to marry sports and education, and harness the best talents of young people.
Speaking during her feature address at the CWI/WIPA Player Awards ceremony here, Caddle told the gathering of administrators, officials and cricketers that while sport represented a credible alternative industry, more needed to be done to channel the development of individuals involved in the various disciplines.
“Our investment in education has to look a bit different and we’ve said that for Barbados, we must move to the place where every school is a top school,” said Caddle, elected last month as part of the Barbados Labour Party’s historic 30-0 victory at the polls.
“It means certainly within our secondary school system, to create Centres of Excellence for several disciplines and one of those disciplines must be sport and sporting excellence.”
“There is perhaps no other area in which discipline and focus are brought to bear than in sport and so what we’re saying is that even as we acknowledge that not everyone may want to be in science or mathematics or liberal arts, when we realise sporting talent that we have to start to be able to channel that talent towards a certain direction.”
She added: “I would like to think that in this part of the world that we have a particular centre of excellence or school of excellence for cricket because I think that when we start to conflate different types of sporting activities that we aren’t able to properly invest, we aren’t able to target our energies and our resources where it must be.”
Caddle also pointed out that if sport was to be properly developed, the marriage with education needed to occur at an early stage, and this required a change in approach to sports policy.
As such, she said the new Mia Mottley-led government would be moving to ensure that adjustments were made to this aspect of sports development.
“What has confronted us here in Barbados, is really something that is confronting us as a region, and it has to do with how we diversify our brand and how we marry the things that make us Barbadian and that make us West Indian,” she explained.
“Cricket and sport in general is a big part of how we do that so we have said as a new government there are some things we have to do differently when it comes to how we invest and the types of things in which we invest, and where we invest, at what stage of people’s lives [we invest].”
Caddle continued: “Cricket and sport in general represents not just an industry but it also represents a way for us to signal to young people that there is something else they can do with their talent.
“One of things that we have said .. is that we have to be better able to integrate sport into education and to invest from those early days and those early levels in sport as a viable industry for young people.
“It is something we have not done enough and it is something certainly that the government of Barbados intends to do going forward.”
The Awards ceremony was attended by Barbados’ new Sports Minister John King, a former leading calypsonian, along with Cricket West Indies president, Dave Cameron and players union chief, Wavell Hinds.