Cuban delegation exchange ideas with island’s sports organizations

POSTED: 09/7/11 1:22 PM

GREAT BAY, St. Maarten – The exchange of ideas with a delegation from Santiago de Cuba currently on a fact-finding mission here is already yielding positive results, according to remarks made by President of the National Olympic Committee of St. Martin, Mr. Bobby Ottley, and vice-president of the Sports Federation, Mr. Edsel Hooker. The two of them led their respective delegations to a meeting with the Cuban delegation held under the auspices of the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell Monday afternoon.

Acting Head of Youth and Sports Shermina Powell-Richardson chaired the meeting, which was also attended by Head of the Sports Section Les Brown, Elton Jones, and James Busby. In an earlier session with the Sports Section, the Cubans explained how sports is organized in their country, and how their sports policy is a derivative of the Olympic Charter.
The all-female Cuban delegation gave a graphic illustration of the pyramidal structure of sports in Cuba, starting with the schools and rising up through provincial/municipal bodies to the national selections and the Olympic Committee, a non-governmental organization which works closely with the government agency (INDER).
Hooker pointed out that this bottoms-up structure is not new, nor alien to St. Martin but the emphasis on education, discipline and values of the Cuban system, which focuses on the youth, are aspects St. Martin could learn from.

The Cuban delegation offered to assist the St. Martin organizations in whatever areas these may require. The meeting ended with the Cubans offering token gifts to the St. Martin sports officials who were in attendance.

On Tuesday the delegation met with Physical Education teachers at the Dr. A. C. Wathey Legislative Hall, and also with representatives of sports associations. On Wednesday they will pay a courtesy call on the President of Parliament, Drs. Gracita Arrindell, and meet with the Board and President of the University of St. Martin. The delegation is also scheduled to meet with the island’s cultural workers at 2:00 p.m. at the Philipsburg Community and Cultural Center on Backstreet. The fact-finding mission continues Thursday with visits to schools, and a final wrap up session with Minister Arrindell.

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