First Steps to Sport Excellence: The Belize Vision

The drawings may not have been worthy of any art gallery and the maps were certainly not drawn to scale, but what was obvious was that delegates had a clear and common vision for sport in Belize.  The event was the first consultation on the National Sport Sector Strategy hosted by the Ministry of Education, Youth & Sport and facilitated by the Caribbean Sport & Development Agency (formerly known as TTASPE).

Twenty-five (25) participants representing 16 of the 21 Federations/Associations registered with the National Sport Council along with other key stakeholders, including the Minister of Sport, the CEO of Education and the newly elected President of the Belize Olympic Committee gathered at the Best Western Biltmore hotel in Belize City to share their views, concerns and recommendations toward a renewed vision for sport and physical education in Belize. Participants did not only take the opportunity to indicate some of their challenges with the present situation, but also expressed their sincere appreciation to the Minister for his commitment to the process of moving forward as they indicated that ‘nothing of this nature had taken place in the history of sport in Belize’.

Minister Longsworth expressed his Government’s commitment to the process that was being launched and displayed his personal commitment by participating in the day’s activities which also brought appreciation from participants.  

Outcomes of the day included the exploration of a vision for sport in Belize as well as an appreciation of what it takes to move from policy to practice. The facilitators stressed on the fact that the development of legislation, policy and plans was only the beginning but the real test would be in the implementation of the plans, guided by the new policy.  Participants also got feedback on the institutional assessment that was done prior to the consultation which provided a clear picture of the areas in each respective organization that required strengthening.

This consultation kicked off the first of a series of meetings toward an understanding of the sport climate in Belize and culminated in the establishment of a working group representing the various stakeholders in sport. Director of Sport, Mr. Patrick Henry expressed his satisfaction regarding the approach being used by the CSDA and shared his confidence that the completed National Sport Sector Strategy would be a true reflection of the vision of the people of Belize. The next round of consultations will take place at the end of May. 

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