The Ministry of Sports and National Sports Council today hosted a consultation session for a National Sports Sector Strategy in conjunction with non-profit consultants Caribbean Sport and Development Agency (CSDA) based in Trinidad and Tobago. Consultant Mark Munjal visited Belize last year and details the process leading up to today’s event.
Mark Munjal – Consultant:
Our engagement in Belize has actually already started and although we have been working in the region for over ten years, for some reason, Belize has been left out of the loop of a lot of the regional work. For many reasons, not least of all, where you are – you are in Central America, but you are in the Caribbean. It’s the same thing for Surinam and Guyana are really in South America, but they are in the Caribbean too. Luckily through our own efforts of trying to access resources and to increase Belize, over the last two years, we have been able to include Belize on our regional agenda. My colleague and I were here last year to do a visit to Belize – a scoping visit really and linking us to possibilities around the world that we do. And so we have started that work.
According to Sports Minister Herman Longsworth, gaps in Belize’s sports legislation are being repaired.
Herman Longsworth – Sports Minister:
We recognize that the legislation that you guys have to work on and work with is to a large extent, outdated and doesn’t reflect all of what should be reflected for Belize. So we felt the need to rewrite that legislation. We also knew that we had to forge some kind of direction for sports in Belize; we have all been moving, but we have been moving with no real direction. So we insisted that there was the need for some kind of medium term policy that would dictate how we go.
NSC chair Allan Sharp has encouragement for fellow sporting heads.
Allan Sharp – NSC chair:
It is my personal belief for many years that in Belize, we try to reinvent the wheel. We try to do things ourselves from scratch and I think these two gentlemen have a wealth of knowledge to share, but at the same time we are Belize and we know what our challenges are. The Sports Council nor the Government of Belize has exclusive rights to that knowledge and what we are trying to do and we know it will work out this way is to be very inclusive. The national federations know what the priorities are, know where they want to go and have some idea of how we get there. With the consultant’s knowledge and experience, they can help us to get where we want to reach.
The session saw participation from presidents, general secretaries and other sporting heads and stakeholders. The process is expected to last another six months.