The "Get off the block, Get on the bus, Get busy" (or GB3) youth project got off to a high-energy start Saturday evening at the Great Bay Sports Auditorium with an exciting and exhilarating exhibition basketball game with the world-famous AND-1 street basketball team from the US.
A capacity crowd made up of mainly young people packed the auditorium and roared with approval as the AND-1 basketball stars dribbled, dunked and demonstrated why they are such a favourite with the youth. Not to be outdone, the St. Martin Selection they faced for the second time in less than six months, showed their skills as well to the wild applause of the crowd.
Before the AND-1 came on, there was a face-off between two youth teams that went down to the wire, with the "Red" team beating the "Black" team on the buzzer.
Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Rhoda Arrindell, asked for the crowd to stand up and observe a moment of silence for the late Mrs. Eulalie Meyers, who was laid to rest earlier that same day, and Mr. Edgar Lynch, who passed away at the beginning of last week. She described them as "two of our most illustrious personalities who have departed us for a better place and whose lives were dedicated entirely to grooming our youth and guiding them in the right direction."
In her brief address, Minister Rhoda Arrindell said, "We are gathered here today, to "Get off the Block, Get on the Bus, and Get Busy" because our very future depends on it. That future is the youth of this our beloved island."
"I dare say that, as a society, we shall be judged by how many of them we can get off the block, get on the bus that is going somewhere with them on board, and get them busy with activities that would transform their lives. This is what this GB3 project is all about: to replace their hopelessness with hope; to offer jobs to those of them who are jobless, and to educate and train those who need it so they can aspire to be all they want to be," the Minister added.
She reiterated that "this is not a government thing – from "Babylon" down to the guys on the block; it is not a political thing, and certainly not a Rhoda thing. This is a public-private partnership in which the entire community is involved."
According to her, "Many of our children love basketball and some of them even dream of being drafted into the NBA someday. To them I say, nothing is impossible. That is why we are happy to welcome back AND -1 to participate in the launch of this project."
The Minister thanked all the members of the organizing committee who she said should "take full credit for a job well done."
The motivational part of the launch will be held next Saturday, April 9th when participants in the project will be given an island tour, motivational speeches and streamed into various programs that will cater to their individual needs.