Jr. Minister Message

This year marks 32 years of the Inter-Primary Schools Athletic Championship, and it is indeed a signal honour for me to be here participating in this activity.  It is a signal honour because from these very humble grounds we have seen a number of our young athletes transition into better athletes and have taken their rightful places in regional and international track meets and have made us all proud.

I must, as a matter of priority, give my highest commendation to The Gulf Insurance Company through its local agent, A. L. Evelyn’s Ltd.  This Company has partnered with us over the past 22 years in sponsoring this meet, and for this we are eternally grateful.   To sustain sponsorship of an event of this magnitude for the past 22 years, takes tremendous effort and commitment, and so, on behalf of the Nevis Island Administration I express sincere thanks for your consistent and invaluable support with the hope that your unwavering sponsorship would continue for the next 22 years or more.  I also wish for the continued success of your other business ventures as you faithfully serve the people of Nevis and the region.

I must also commend very highly The Department of Education, the participating Primary Schools, The Nevis Amateur Athletic Association (NAAA), The Department of Sports, parents, patrons, spectators and the many stakeholders, who year after year have contributed to the successful hosting of this event.  We are indeed proud to see improvements to the event every year, all to the benefit of the athletes and spectators.  It is my sincere hope, however, that other stakeholders will come on board and help us to transition and maintain this athletic prowess into the Secondary Schools and into the regional and international arena. 

We are all aware that this event has been branded the Gulf Insurance Inter-Primary Schools Athletic Championship, and some have even dubbed it the Mini-Olympics, however, the Department of Education has seen it fit to do some additional branding of the event, and this year the event is being branded and marketed as a child-friendly event.  This is certainly a shrewd marketing idea, because although athletics is a highly competitive sport, the point must be made, and emphasized, that this is more than a competition. This event provides an opportunity for camaraderie.   Camaraderie is the spirit of friendship, it is the spirit of goodwill that exists among friends, it is a feeling of trust and a bond created by shared goals, opportunities and experiences.  I dare say that these are very important virtues that must be cultivated among our young athletes.

I must applaud the Department of Education for branding this athletic meet as a child-friendly event, because there is an adage that “Children Live What They Learn”, and so I do believe that this must have been in the forefront of their minds when they decided to promote this competition as a child-friendly event.  Dorothy Law Nolte said that “If a child lives with friendliness, he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live”.

I would, therefore, like to say to you the athletes, everyone is a winner.  You are a winner because you were selected to represent your respective schools in the first instance.  You are a winner because you will be able to forge lasting friendships with other athletes, but most importantly you are a winner because you will be able to enhance and improve your athletic skills on the tracks today. 

So athletes show great sportsmanship today, represent your respective schools well but most importantly have fun.

Let the games begin.

~ Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Jr. Minister, Ministry of Social Development