`Anyone can give their input on Sport Policy Draft’

- Dow-Richardson

Assistant Director of Sport, Melissa Dow-Richardson

Assistant Director of Sport, Melissa Dow-Richardson says the first draft of the National Sports Policy (NSP) is open to anyone who would like to give their input.

Speaking exclusively to Stabroek Sport after the draft was released to the public, the Assistant Director of Sport, who is the lead author in the policy said “The policy is open to every citizen, not just associations or organizations” that govern their respective sports.

This disclosure comes on the heels of some organizations and sporting stalwarts indicating their frustration in not being a part of the drafting process, thus feeling that their particular detriments would not be heard.

Dow-Richardson made the point that this was only the first draft of something that was in talks for 26 years but her efforts were that of 18 months of consultations with stakeholders and others.

“This in 18 months was wat was put off for 23 years, the recommendations for the policy is to protect our athletes, make sure that they have the right facilitative environment, the right resources and support so they can continue to excel at the regional and international level and to help the associations function in the best interest of the athletes they represent.” Dow-Richardson said.

The second in command for the National Sports Commission (NSC) went on to say that the policy is available online for anyone wanting to have a look with a suggestion section allocated for recommendations and even in the instance that persons could not access the online version can make contact with the opportunity to find means of accessing the document.

The former national athlete explained that both Olympic and non-Olympic sporting bodies were contacted but there is still no filtering of information down to the grassroots level.

“When we met with the associations, the sports policy effort was to be non-political. We thought to deal with the executives of all boards of all sports, Olympic or non-Olympic with the expectation that those boards regulate the clubs in the areas and the role is to filter the information down to the county boards for example cricket, basketball, boxing and other.” The Assistant Director said.

According to her, it was evident in the statements made by Technical Director of Guyana Boxing Association, Terrence Poole last month about the welfare of athletes, that the information in the policy that was released in excess of a month prior to those statements were not being trickled down the channels.  Similar sentiments were shared by President of the Berbice Cricket Board, Hilbert Foster who said he had not seen the document, while National Badminton Coach, Gokarn Ramdhani said that the policy needs to be filtered to everyone.

Dow-Richardson said the indirectly everyone would be aware of the policy, because of its circulation through the media but it would not be out of the realm of the NSC to engage individuals and persons desirous of making an input into the policy.

The author added that she has already seen changes in just a few months in the various organizations while being optimistic about the developmental impact it has across the board since a lot was crafted from similar international documents.

“We expect the entire region across the board will develop in keeping with what is in the law. I’ve seen behavior changes in a few months because of the document and I believe it is helpful since a lot of guidance comes from the International Olympic Committee, various sports policies, UNESCO and mainly consultations.” The Assistant Director stated.

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