Sports minister calls on private sector to support cricketTuesday, September 07, 2021
Minister of Sports Olivia Grange has called on the private sector to throw its support behind the sport of cricket, even as her ministry has put in some initiatives to breathe life into a sport that Jamaica once dominated in the region and has produced so many legends that have represented the West Indies at the international level.
Through the Institute of Sports (Insports), a grass-roots cricket programme has been initiated by the Government, along with a soon-to-be implemented primary school programme to enliven the sport.
Minister Grange said that the Government has begun a rescue act for the sport in Jamaica.
“We want to start with them early. Let them learn how to swing a bat and how to throw a ball. We are putting $3.5 m, initially into 30 schools between now and the end of the fiscal year, because we really feel that it is absolutely necessary at this point to do something, and we are willing to put our money where our mouth is.”
Grange stated that there is a deep love for the sport from a great cross section of the country, but it is only the Government that is pushing its development at this time.
“In fact, everybody loves cricket, Jamaicans love cricket. There are a number of other sports that compete, but the cricket base is a strong and powerful base, both in public and private sector, and it's unfortunate that it is Government alone that is taking this on.”
She has called on the private sector to join Government on this journey to revive Jamaica's cricket as it has continuously benefited from brand association with the nation's top athletes in various sports.
“The private sector needs to come on-board because they use great cricketers to promote their brands as ambassadors. But I notice in recent times the private sector doesn't step up. The track and field athletes have also highlighted this.”
The minister said that even though the Government has taken the lead in this effort, it cannot do it alone and has appealed for help from businesses who can afford to join in and support the effort.
“I don't know if it's because Government has been more proactive in doing things, that the private sector has not come on-board but watch Government doing things, because never before in the history of this country that sports has had such strong support from Government.
“But we step up to the plate because we want private sector to also step up with us, so that together we can make it stronger and better, and so I am making that very special appeal at this time.”
Grange made the appeal recently at a press briefing at Sabina Park where it was announced that 32 young players had been identified to be a part of a special cricket development programme.
— Dwayne Richards