By Neto Baptiste
Antigua and Barbuda’s Chef de Mission to the 2022 Commonwealth Games and member of the National Olympic Committee (NOC), Joel Rayne, believes that the Ministry of Sports must first be separated from all other portfolios in order for sports to get the attention it truly deserves.
“I think it starts there, and we have to start looking at making the Ministry of Sports, if not a stand-alone, the major ministry within whatever portfolio the minister has and then we can take it from there, because there are lots of things that need to be done. We need a cultural shift when you think about sports, we need a buy-in by all the stakeholders because there is lots of blame to go all over, but it is time to get things done. Antigua and Barbuda perhaps, is one of the only if not the only small island of any substance that has no medal on the world stage,” he said.
Rayne, who was appearing on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show at the time, said it will however take a holistic approach to solve all of the issues plaguing sports in Antigua and Barbuda.
“It’s not just the federations, it’s not just the athletes, and it’s not just the NOC of the CGA [Commonwealth Games Association], but it’s everybody who needs to come on board and buy into what needs to be done. For example, I am sure you could be on your job and I am sure you can go to your boss and ask for a couple of hours or a day off because you want to go to a funeral for a friend, mother, sister, brother or somebody who you don’t even know, and you get it, but to ask that same employer to give you time off to go and watch your son play a school football match and they look at you like you’re crazy,” he said.
A 13-member team is representing Antigua and Barbuda at the Commonwealth Games being held in Birmingham, England.