Health Minister Defends Decision To Allow Team Sports Outside OF Competition

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By Neto Baptiste

Minister of Heath, Molwyn Joseph, has defended the Cabinet’s decision to lift restrictions on the public’s participation in team sports at a social level, adding the country’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Rhonda Sealy Thomas, had been either directly or indirectly consulted on the decision.

“The Chief Medical Officer would have been consulted, if not directly, indirectly because what happens is that, is she is not present at Cabinet at any time, the discussions that take place at Cabinet would be relayed to her through me because at the end of the day, the policies of the government is guided by the recommendations of the health authorities, primarily the CMO in consultation with myself and other senior staff in the ministry,” he said.

When our newsroom reached out to the CMO last week, she however said she was unaware of the decision and suggested we reach out to the health minister.

Joseph was responding to questions regarding the rationale behind the decision given that this type of activity is unmonitored and without adherence to hygienic protocols.

Joseph said that sports minister Daryll Matthew, made representation to Cabinet for the lifting of restrictions in an effort to allow individuals to return to some form of physical activity. Eventually he added, competitive team sports could be allowed to resume.

“The minister responsible for sports [Daryll Matthew] over several weeks, made representation about all sports and our main concern was the kind of contact that would come about as a result of competitive sports but the reasoning is that we would want physical activities to continue which has the element of a little less risk than the competitive activities. We do not want the youngsters to be locked away, we want them to come out in the afternoons and enjoy themselves while they have some physical activity.

Competitive sports will return but we do not think we are quite yet ready for that,” he said.

Some have questioned the decision, adding that a return to competition would have been a more reasonable approach as this would have been done in a more controlled environment.

Football association president, Everton Gonsalves, recently welcomed the decision, adding that it is a good sign that the FA’s stalled competition could shortly be given the green light to resume.

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