By Neto Baptiste
The nation’s athletes, the media and staff within the ministry of sports all came in for criticism from the country’s sports minister, Daryll Matthew, during his address at last Saturday’s Vita Malt National Sports Awards.
Addressing the gathering, Matthew first took swipe at the local media houses, accusing them of being too critical of the athletes.
“We cannot continue to allow our media houses to bring shame to our athletes, to speak ill of our athletes because when they do well they are still our athletes and we praise them, so when they do not do so well we must encourage them. We must build them up and not tear them down. We must become a country that takes pride in our people, in particular our athletes because our athletes represent the best amongst us,” he said.
Matthew, who was elected to Parliament in 2018, also took aim at his staff, reminding them that one of their main role is to accommodate the national associations and to do so with some pride and urgency.
“It is the Ministry of Sports that deals with those underground issues with the national federations and associations and so we have to recognise that we are not doing the associations a favour when we allocate funding for them through ADARP. We’re not doing the associations a favour when we process their requests for waivers for our national athletes. It is a part of our job; it is a part of our duty and so we must operate with a sense of urgency and pride, knowing that when our national associations come to us seeking assistance that it is not because they don’t want to help themselves but it is because they can’t help themselves … we must be more mindful in terms of how we respond to them where timeliness is concerned,” he said.
The minister then went on to address country’s athletes, accusing them of sometimes being overly dramatic when things don’t work in their favour.
‘I’ve worked with athletes before and I’ll tell you that it is not easy sometimes and so to you the athletes I say, you have to be accountable to this country. It is the coaches, the administrators and the persons who support and encourage you who made you what you are. So you do not have the right to become a prima donna when you get on the world stage and you would have won a few races and you do not have the right to shun this country when we ask you to represent us. You do not have the right to be angry, upset and bitter when we can’t provide you with all of the resources that you need at a particular point in time because if we had it we would give it to you,” Matthew said. Track and field athletes, Cejhae Greene and Priscilla Frederick Loomis were adjudged the male and female winners in the senior category, while Ajarni Daley and Joella Lloyd were the junior male and female winners.