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Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo

Minister of Sports Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo outlining some of the plans for sports. Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo, Minister of Sports is also the Minister of Family, Youth Affairs and the Environment, said the Government was committed to developing sport as a major socio-economic sector.

by EZRA STUART Compliments of the Barbados Nation News

SPORTING CLUBS and organisations will soon be benefiting from a pledge of the new Government to waive duties and VAT on training and sports equipment.

Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo revealed this yesterday in her first public address since being sworn in as the new Minister of Sport.

Delivering the feature address at a luncheon and pageant hosted by the Rising Stars athletics club at the Lester Vaughan School in St Thomas, Byer-Suckoo said it was a concern shared by the athletes at Rising Stars.

"It is very expensive for many of our athletes to be able to get the quality of equipment and the quality of gear that they need to be able to prepare them for the world stage.

"And many athletes have had to come a-begging to be able to afford just shoes and equipment to get them to be able to compete. So we will waive the VAT and duties very shortly on this training equipment and the gear that is needed for them to prepare."

Byer-Suckoo said this pledge was contained in the Democratic Labour Party's (DLP) manifesto, adding that far too often when Barbadian athletes travelled overseas, they did not seem to be up to par with what other competitors had.

"Our athletes travel by themselves, they travel with just one little bag. They don't have the right equipment and many of our athletes cannot afford the supplements that they need to be able to get them physically fit and able to prepare and compete with people on the world stage, and so we are going to make that a lot more affordable for them," she said.

The Minister of Sport also said the DLP administration, led by Prime Minister David Thompson, intended to waive the duties on transport facilities for sporting organisations.

Grants

"We want to make available financial grants to successful sporting organisations . . . . There is the plan to offer tax deduction for businesses which sponsor sports, and that should be an incentive for them to be able to put more into communities and organisations such as this one."

Byer-Suckoo, who is also Minister of Family, Youth Affairs and the Environment, said the Government was committed to developing sport as a major socio-economic sector.

"We see there is a lot of potential now in sports. We are committed to developing world-class athletes and seeing sports develop," she said.

* ezrastuart@nationnews.com

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