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By Neto Baptiste
Developing athletes locally and building a strong sports tourism product are priorities for the United Progressive Party (UPP) should they succeed at the polls when the general election is called.
This was revealed by the party’s candidate for the St. John’s City South constituency, Franz De Freitaswho said the current administration had missed the mark when it came to sports tourism and the potential benefits to the twin island state.
“It’s something I don’t know if the people watching it now are sleeping but not a soul has looked at how we can take advantage of the 365 beaches we have here and the talent and sports we have and the resources of Antigua and Barbuda It’s almost 330 days a year that we have the sun and we have so many people looking for the sun, looking for places, but we don’t have facilities in which we have invested in and developed and therefore we have no packages that we can sell,” he said.
The candidate, who will seek to unseat the incumbent MP for St John’s City South, Steadroy Benjamin, when the vote is called, believes the development of the sporting prospects of the country’s young people is being ignored.
He postulated that urgent and effective methods will be put in place to combat negligence.
“Sport is essential to the development of young people in Antigua and Barbuda and often when we talk about sport what I find is that we only see it from a very limited point of view, which is that of the athlete, but the sport has a wide spectrum,” DeFreitas said.
“At St John’s City South, the grassroots sports program we are developing for the community will not only create athletes, but it will create referees, coaches, statisticians, sports psychologists, sports doctors, physiotherapists, social media administrators, agents, facility staff, media personnel and sports team management,” he added.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show at the time, DeFreitas said the UPP had consulted with a number of knowledgeable people regarding the state of the sport in Antigua and Barbuda as there are plans to remedy shortcomings that afflict development and growth in this area. .
“The United Progressive Party has sat down with a number of stakeholders and is discussing an overall plan and currently I think the system is very disjointed. If you look at school sports versus league sports and how they relate to the refereeing bodies – whether it’s the NOC or other governing bodies – there doesn’t seem to be a smooth interaction, or they’re not not on the same wavelength. And then we don’t have community sports in Antigua and Barbuda so that’s a whole chunk that’s missing,” he said.
General elections in Antigua and Barbuda are constitutionally scheduled for March 2023.
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