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Arthur: Mottley's football vision needed

Opposition Leader Owen Arthur sees an important link between Mia Mottley and national hero Grantley Adams in the area of competitive sports in Barbados.

Arthur made this observation on Sunday night while speaking at the nomination of the parliamentary representative for St. Michael North East at Tyrol Cot, Spooner’s Hill, St. Michael.

The former Prime Minister said: “A lot of people in Barbados are not aware that apart from fighting for the vote, apart from holiday with pay, apart from building the modern society, Grantley Adams did something that was very important.

“The Barbados Cricket League that put cricket to the masses was one of Adams’ contributions to modern Barbados. From that cricket league has come Garfield Sobers, Conrad Hunte, Charlie Griffith, Seymour Nurse and Everton Weekes.”

The St. Peter MP argued that building a society also included what Adams did in establishing the Barbados Cricket League. In lauding Mottley’s effort in establishing a semi-professional football competition, Arthur said:

“I want to make an important point to you. Building a society is also doing what Adams did in helping to form the BCL, but it is what Mottley is seeking to do that will have an imposing beneficial impact on how this country is developed. I have come to speak about it in terms of its significance in our national development.

I am in the process of trying to put together a manifesto that will capture the imagination of this country and will speak to the needs of all people in Barbados in a way that will let them know that we not only have the answers to the big things, but we have the answers to the small things that matter in the lives of people.”

Arthur told the crowd that one of the things the Barbados Labour Party must do is create an economy for the island’s youth.

“Our manifesto must speak to that in a significant way. We must build an economy for our youth. We must not set out to build an economy for our youth by trying to imagine what it is the youth want and trying to do for them that which we think they want. We must be clear as to what it is that young people want to have as professions, and create a society and an economy that will enable them to do their own thing and in doing their own thing to help lift up and carry forward Barbados with them.

“Ask yourself the question: What it is across the world that young people do? Young people are involved in sports, cultural activities, and creative activities. And if you do not make it possible for young people to be able to enjoy the opportunity to have professional careers as sportsmen and sportswomen, you will deprive them of the chance to carry forward themselves and also the country in the process,” Arthur explained.

He, however, condemned the football competition being sponsored by the Government and charged that they were perverting something that was important to young people.

“The young people of this country do not want to be tokenised,” he said. “They want to be given the opportunity to have sports as an avenue for professional development and careers. At this time when Barbados should be opening sports to the rest of the world as an avenue for the professional development of our young people and to give them careers: what is the DLP doing?

“Seeking only to use sport for the purposes of their own political development — and it is wrong. If there is to be a football memorial competition in Barbados name it after some footballer who has done something to carry forward football in Barbados.

“What happened to Reggie Haynes? What happened to Victor “Gas” Clarke?” Arthur said it was an “abomination” for the taxpayers’ money to taken and spent on a so-called competition that was intended not to provide professional outlets for young people, but to support a political programme for the DLP. (NC)

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