NASSAU, The Bahamas – Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Charles Maynard said that the recent touring of the National Stadium construction site by a cross-section of youth representatives was a very important event for The Bahamas’ present and future sporting endeavours.
“It is important for the young people, our future leaders, to know exactly what is going on in the process of construction, to be intimate with how the design is now unfolding and how it is going to be managed in the future,” Minister Maynard said during the tour.
“To look at it at this point in the construction is significant, so that they could get a full appreciation of it when it is finished.”
His Excellency Hu Dingxian, People’s Republic of China Ambassador to The Bahamas, said he was “so happy” to see so many people on the tour that day because of what it symbolised to the friendship enjoyed between the two countries over the past decade.
“This friendship needs to be carried on to the younger generations; so I am very happy that they are here today and I sure that this friendship will carry on for generations to come,” said Ambassador Hu.
Co-ordinator of the International Desk in the Department of Culture John Darville said having members of the National Youth Ambassadors Corps take part in the special tour was a “signature event” for them because, as youth envoys, they are learning of the friendship of the two countries and what such partnerships mean to nation building.
Mr. Darville said: “Today, we are in awe, observing these developments and seeing how pivotal our government has been in forming this relationship and we are excited to learn of this development, as it will impact the future generations of The Bahamas, and how we can further our ties to have more developments in The Bahamas.”
Youth Ambassador for Caricom and the Vice Dean of the Youth Ambassadors Corps Demathio Forbes said he feels that such investments made in sports will be returned in short order.
“I would love to be a young track athlete right now,” Ambassador Forbes said. “I was just trying to imagine myself out there, running in the 400 metres (race) on the new track and jumping out of the blocks. If you are in high school right now or just coming out of junior high school, you should be very excited seeing this.
“It gives Bahamians a chance to stand strong – not just in the region, but internationally – to show our sports prowess and compete on a higher level in track and field.”
Youth Ambassador to the Organisation of American States (OAS) Sharell Ferguson said that it is “amazing” to see that The Bahamas is going so strongly into Sports Tourism.
“Like Demathio said, this is going to be a new era for The Bahamas,” she said. “This is going to be a new economical means of bringing in revenue and we are going to tap into markets that we had never tapped into before. I just want to commend the government for this step they have taken and I do hope that everything is continued to be done in transparency and accountability to show how Bahamians will benefit from this gift we are receiving from the Chinese Government.”
National Youth Ambassador to the United Nations Chistina Smith agreed that the stadium would give young Bahamians more opportunities to shine in the international sports arena.
“This here, having proper facilities, is important in training and getting them used to how to conduct themselves and the appropriate behaviour in sports,” Ambassador Smith added. “In respect to the international arena, having a stadium of such magnitude here in The Bahamas would open up doors in not just Sports Tourism, but also in giving us more exposure to different cultures and bringing in talent to train our Bahamian people.
“All of that is important to the development of our Bahamas.”
Gia Rolle, who represented the Pinewoods Constituency in the recent Youth in Parliament exercise, said that it was an honour and a privilege to be a part of the tour.
President of the Free National Movement Torchbearers Jamal Moss said that the organisation look forward to the tour of the site because of its true importance.
“I do believe that this is an historic moment in the history of our country, where young people come together from different groups to tour a national stadium,” Mr. Moss said. “I want to commend the Minister, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the present administration for allowing the young people to be seen and to have a voice in this country.”
Also taking part in the tour were C. C. Sweeting Senior High School students who were assigned at the site as part of this year’s apprenticeship programme. The programme was introduced last year to afford the students a chance to get on-hand experience learning some of the construction methods.
Keiran Sweeting, grade 12, said that the programme helped them to understand various aspects of building and gives them an edge for when they enter the workforce.
“It’s good to learn and it’s good to help us because, if you do not have anybody to help you, you cannot make it in life,” he said. “And if you make it in life and keep at it, anything is possible.”
“I was happy to be able to join them on this tour today, to see the progress,” Minister Maynard added. “It is amazing how quickly this structure is coming together.”