Technical Committee presents draft sports policy to Minister Rhoda Arrindell

"Two world records and one French national record were set right here on St. Martin on Saturday, May 5, but when we open the papers today, we don’t find nothing about this. Where is the love on this island for sports? This has to change."


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This observation was made by Patricio Bridgewater, chairman of the Technical Committee, in presenting the draft Sports Policy the Committee had been working on for the last three months to Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, in a simple ceremony at the Dr. A. C. Wathey Hall, Monday morning. He was referring to the performance of international athletes at the 6th St. Maarten/St. Martin International Track and Field Meet held at the Alberic Richards stadium in Marigot over the weekend.

Minister Arrindell thanked the Technical Committee for a job well-done. She had set up and given three months to produce a draft Sports policy for the island. The Minister further presented a copy of the draft Sports Policy to the chairman of the National Sports Institute, Al Wathey, stressing that the Institute was established to execute government policy in sports.

The Minister stated that the idea of a sports policy was not hers, and pointed to the fact that her predecessors have also drafted similar policies but which needed to be updated.

"A policy is a living document; it’s a dynamic document that evolves with time as we change but the policy should also be able to adjust. This is a three to four year policy plan. We intended to take the document back to the stakeholders for their feedback," Minister Arrindell said.

The objective, she continued, was to publish the final policy document in the form of a manual by the end of this year.

Bridgewater remarked that the policy indeed is just words on paper. "The only way it would have value is if it is put into action. This is therefore the starting point, the guideline for the Sports Institute," he said, adding that three months is not enough to do justice to a document of this nature.

He pledged the support of the Technical Committee should the board (of the National Sports Institute) need such support or advice.

Chairman of the Board of the Sports Institute, Mr. Al Wathey, in thanking the Technical Committee for its work, said the Institute was the brainchild of the Minister. "When we look on paper at the purpose of the Sports Institute, we see the easy part; the easy part is the management of sports facilities on St. Martin, but the real challenge is the reconstructing and the organizing of sports on St. Martin," he said.

"Frankly speaking," Wathey continued, "Mr. Bridgewater said three months is not enough; I will tell you three months sitting on the bench untried, untested, was a long time. I’m happy to receive the draft policy, and ready to read it, have set up a structure to remain in contact with the Technical Committee and we’re very anxious to get started."

Minister Arrindell presented each member of the Technical Committee with a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of the work they had done in such a short period of time.