British Virgin Islands

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2021

Smith calls for a ministry exclusively for sports

Smith calls for a ministry exclusively for sports

Territorial At-Large Representative, Neville Smith is calling for the creation of a ministry exclusively for sports so special emphasis can be placed on sports development in the territory.

Smith made the call during the recent ceremony to hand over $100,000 worth of cheques to four of the territory’s senior athletes expected to compete in the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan this summer.

Presently, there is a minister responsible for sports, but no designated ministry per se. The responsibility of sports is shared among other portfolios such as education, youth affairs, culture, agriculture, and fisheries.

Smith, who is also Deputy Speaker in the House of Assembly, said he believes a designated Ministry of Sports will help to propel the level of sports displayed in the BVI.

“I said it once and I’ll say it again, until we create a Ministry for Sports, we will not get the true potential of all our athletes here in the Virgin Islands. We need to give a lot more attention to sports in the BVI, we have so much talent in the BVI that it’s overwhelming and we need to pay attention to that,” Smith stated

“We need to give them that food, that energy. That support is what athletes need and that’s from parents, from former athletes, from anybody — it could be the business community, but we need to put something in our policies where most of these companies who come here in the Virgin Islands also contribute to our sports,” Smith further stated.

Hint of Smith possibly becoming minister in a Sports Ministry

Meanwhile, Minister responsible for Sports, Dr Natalio Wheatley acknowledged the sentiments shared by his colleague and even hinted at the possibility of Smith becoming the next Minister of Sports, should a new ministry be created.

He said: “We have the Deputy Speaker here who until we have a Ministry of Sports, I’ll just call him my co-Minister of Sports because he’s so focused on the development of sports, a great sportsman as he is.”

Both Dr Wheatley and Smith have been among the activists for the betterment of sports in the territory, calling for the establishment of a National Sports Council in the BVI.

While the sports council was expected to be established in 2020, it is yet to be materialised beyond just promises.


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