LIFESport launched as anti-crime measure
By JOEL BAILEY Wednesday, June 20 2012
LIFESport, a project initiated by Sports Minister Anil Roberts, in collaboration with the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT), will serve as anti-crime measure, with sports as the focal point of this venture.
The LIFESport project was launched on Monday at the Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s.
“LIFESport, as the name suggests, is a second chance, it’s about life support and it’s a concept that is not novel but is real,” Roberts said.
“We have many programmes that have been instituted, with all sorts of names, from YTEPP to CCC to MYPATT, all created with the right intentions but how effective are they? We have URP, we have CEPEP, providing the right services but not getting down to the root of the problem.”
Roberts admitted that the genesis for this venture arose during the national election campaign in 2007, after a visit to Sea Lots where he spotted a few children engaged in a small-goal football match, during a school day, instead of attending classes.
Concerning LIFESport, Roberts said, “starting off with Phase One in 33 communities where they’re paid a stipend .
“We have to come together to show the young people that we love them, we believe in them and we will not forsake them.” The other feature speaker at the event was former FIFA vice-president and current Minister of Works and Infrastructure Jack Austin Warner.
“This launch comes at a time when hope is fading and when many are beginning to believe the hype that the Government is devoid of ideas,” Warner said. “Especially the ideas as it relates to the upsurge of crime in our country.”
He continued, “crime is not the responsibility of the Ministry of National Security alone but rather it’s the business of all of us.
“We must take a lead in (implementing) a sports-based strategy to reduce crime, and this must be done through the medium of (turning) the youth away from the negative social activities and get them engaged in organised sport.”
Warner condemned the previous political regime for the neglect of both the Diego Martin Recreation Ground and Brian Lara Recreation Ground, Cantaro, Santa Cruz, whereby projects were started but never completed to refurbish both venues.
As a result, Warner said, the lack of sporting activities at both venues may be a contributing factor in criminal activities among the youth in those areas.
Approximately 120 men from “at risk” communities will benefit from the two-year programme, which offers a pathway to success for talented but delinquent youth.
LIFEsport trainers will be involved in athletics, basketball, boxing and football, as well as coach education, facility/grounds management, as well as life and vocational skills training.
The intention of the programme is to mould focussed and committed professionals who can either give back to their country as an elite athlete or to their communities as a coach or facility manager.