Minister of Sport, Charles Ramson Jr., was high in praise for the work of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) under the Presidency of Wayne Forde following a community outreach to Tiger Bay as well as an official visit to the GFF National Training Centre at Providence, EBD, on Saturday last.
During the visit, footballs and other gears were handed over to the community by Forde and Minister Ramson, who also had his staff distribute face masks to residents to assist with containing the spread of the COVID-19.
According to the Minister, the Tiger Bay visit was a follow up to the visit and commitment made by President Irfaan Ali. Also attending Saturday’s Outreach were GFF Executive Committee Member Mr. Dion Inniss, Georgetown Football Association President Mr. Otis James and National Security Advisor, Mr. Gerald Gouveia, among others.
Minister Ramson also engaged members of the community on the possibility of clearing a designated area to make it easier for the youths to be engaged in playing sports.
The Tiger Bay area has produced a number of national footballers over the years, including the likes of Orin Accra, Leslie ‘Fatman’ Holligan and Shawn ‘Fatso’ Bishop, all deceased, as well as current players including King Solomon Austin and Deon Alfred who were present at Saturday’s outreach.
Minister Ramson alluded to the fact that one’s circumstances do not preclude them from having opportunities for their advancement in life. “Presenting that ball, while it may just be a ball, it is a symbol of what your life could become too. In addition to that, it’s some life changing lessons that you learn when you are doing sport; team work, competitiveness, being able to have the discipline, setting your goals and working towards your goals all those are things that I developed by playing competitive sport, which I had just transposed into my professional life.”
On the Tiger Bay outreach, Forde recalled the expression of excitement and joy on the faces of the many boys and girls just to hold and own a football. “I’ve said often times in my public discourse that if sports is given 10% of what the state invests in incarcerating young people they can take that 10% and save almost 100% of those young men that find themselves on the other side of the law.” He noted that the human development objective that sports is able to achieve is something that cannot be accomplished by any federation alone.
“It has to be a collaboration between national sporting bodies and one of the key stakeholders in the development of people, which is the Government of Guyana. I am very encouraged by the Minister’s posture from the very day in office; it was moving to me that the very first engagement I had with him was at his invitation.”
Recognising that Minister Ramson is an action-oriented person given his proactivity, Forde posited that he is confident that they would have an exceptionally good working relationship. “I want to commend him for taking the time out to visit the Tiger Bay Community and we’ll be more than willing Minister to participate in other engagements that you have to other communities and to do whatever we can to enhance the experience of the stakeholders, the young boys and girls in those communities that will ultimately benefit from the engagements.”
At the GFF Training Facility, which is still under phase one of construction, the Minister and team were taken on a guided tour including the state-of-the-art artificial turf and the building (new & refurbished), which will house a players dorm, football-specific gym, viewing area, and kitchen, among other amenities.
Minister Ramson expressed satisfaction with what he saw during his inaugural visit to the facility. “I’m pretty impressed overall with the pace of the work and also the quality of the work being done here by the GFF and the leadership of Wayne Forde. It shows the level of commitment the GFF is willing to pursue and the effort that they are willing to advance in the development of young talent, young Guyanese talent. I’m happy also to say that we are going to be working on a number of projects together.”